“…and so it is with a heavy heart, but my utmost confidence and full of pride that I hand over the reigns of this company, with the most amazing staff anyone could have asked for to my beloved, capable and brilliant son Joshua. I will from now on be enjoying the fruit of my labor during my retirement alongside my lovely wife Katie, who from the very beginning, 45 years ago now, has been by my side as my right hand and the smiling, yet assertive force on the forefront of my office. My smart and beautiful daughter Everleigh will be leaving the company to pursue new endeavors with her husband. Katie and I will think about all of you as we explore new lands on our retirement celebration voyage!” Everett finished his eloquent retirement speech.
Into the applause and cheers, Joshua said
“…and he meant to say handsome son. You forgot that last part, dad.” he chuckled.
“…and by exploring new lands he meant lazily laying around various beaches.” Katie added.
The staff laughed and cheered more, champagne corks popped and everybody clinked glasses making small talk.
Everett had finally taken the plunge and decided to bow out of EC Architects, many years later than he originally had planned.
45 years after he opened the doors for the very first time, as a young man of only 22. And ever since that first day, Katie had been by his side.
Josh now owned EC Architects outright, Everleigh had been paid out to help with her new project. Everett had been anxious about the transition at first, but now seemed relieved and excited about the prospect of endless relaxation, no more early mornings, late nights and unreasonable changes to mounds of projects and the reassurance that his expertise and input would still be needed on occasion.
It was clear as glass to Joshua that this translated into his father stopping by unannounced to “help” once the new of retirement wore off or he sufficiently got on Katie’s nerves, causing her to send him to bother one of their kids for a while, whichever came first. But before all that he and Katie would depart for an extended cruise.
Everleigh was leaving EC Architects to help KC open a woodworking shop, to run it with him, something he did not know about yet. Ever since he first proclaimed his desire to have his own shop and sell the things he build full time, Evey had been working on planning how to grant his wish. Looking at her parents one day when presenting some design ideas to them, just days after her dad had told her he and her mother were retiring for certain this time, she arrived at the decision that she wanted what her parents had, to be partners in love, life and work with KC.
She had plenty of office experience and through her work at EC Architects heard through the grapevine that a property in the perfect location in Brindleton Bay would come up for sale soon. So she placed an offer before it was even officially for sale, Everett called in a favor, and Evey’s offer was accepted. Everett also gave her the capital to purchase and he funded the construction even before the retirement and her payout had been made official. He also oversaw her designs and the build. Evey had KC design most of the things in the shop, covered up as new orders while he was working out of the small workshop at their home. Even the front door was made by him. He just didn’t know it wasn’t for some customer, but for his own shop.
Properties rarely went for sale in the small seaside town. When they did, it was an event.
Everett had made sure that the construction would be as covert as possible, even though it was taking place right in front of KC’s eyes, between their home and the schools. Evey was bursting with excitement, every time she sneaked a peak as the shop came together.
And then it was finished.
She had been terribly nervous for two days, as she wanted to wait till it was perfect, then take KC there while the kids were in school. He knew nothing about any of this, was under the impression that she was still working at EC Architects.
She evaded his questions, took him down the street and then pulled off a large sheet covering the storefront. As the cloth sailed down theatrically, KCs smile froze, went to a shocked expression, then he looked as if he were to cry, then he laughed, twirling her around.
“We slightly renamed it. Dad thought ‘Wooden Wonders’ was implying that you’d be wondering what it was supposed to be that you built. ‘Wonders in Wood’ sounded better. You still like it?”
“Is that a serious question?!”
“Let’s go inside.”
She unlocked, he followed, looking around in amazement, once more very emotional as if he was fighting tears.
“I am … speechless. This is … cannot be real. I am dreaming right?”
He kissed her.
“Nope, you are very real, means the rest must be too…makes me wanna …” he whispered into her ear.
“KC, there are HUGE windows! I can see the elementary and high schools from here. NO!”
“Where does that door lead?” he pointed.
He locked the shop from the inside and followed Evey along.
“So not a definite no on anything naughty in the office, right? I’d be thinking about that – and you – every time I’d be in this office…”
“You will anyway, as I intend to be in this office a lot.” Everleigh smiled and winked.
“What about work?”
“This is going to be my work. Hello, colleague.”
“No way!” KC smiled.
“Way!” Evey confirmed.
“The windows in here are much smaller and only face a park… just sayin'” he was mostly just trying to get a rise out of her.
“KC – focus, baby! Raincheck on all naughty stuff until we get home into our bedroom and the kids are asleep. Seriously now. How do you feel about me working with you?”
“Afraid. As soon as your parents come back from that cruise, I will be wearing a bullet proof vest. Your dad won’t like you leaving his company for this.”
“Daddy knows. He helped. With all of this. It’s because of him that I was able to get this property in the first place.” Everleigh told him with pride in her voice.
“In that case …” he began kissing her neck.
“Down boy. I need you to take inventory. I tried to get it all correct, but I am not the one working their magic here. At least not with the building. I will be doing the office work, invoicing, resourcing, handling orders, just like before only on a larger scale and full time. Hopefully. Working together, like mom and dad have. For 45 years.”
“OK, to answer your question: I LOVE the idea of us working together. Love it. For the second time you made me the happiest man in the world. Make that third actually. No, wait, forth. Or fifth. Minimum five. Dayum woman you do make me a whole lotta happy.” KC chuckled.
“Five? One is this shop, one was the wedding, the birth of the twins .. what was the rest?”
“One was when you saved my ass. When you got me on the straight and narrow with the help of your grandparents. And the other was my 21st birthday gift.”
“Your … OH!” Evey blushed. That was their very first night together. The night she lost her virginity to him. But also the night they officially became a couple and have been ever since.
“Everything is great, you really do take your job serious. The only thing is missing is my favorite tool kit. Which incidentally I also received on my 21st birthday. From your bestie, Heath.” (read about all that here)
“I remember. How could I ever forget.” she smiled melancholically.
“Look how far we have come. How far I have come.” KC was melancholic as well.
“When do you think you’ll be ready to open? I want to place an ad. Put your name out there.” Evey said to pull them both out from certain sobbing.
“Shouldn’t we wait for your parents to come back?”
“They won’t be back for a long while. I know something dad doesn’t. Mom booked another vacation right after the cruise. Something like we did for our honeymoon, a European trip, but they’ll have more time per country. So romantic. Dad is going to love it. They are so sweet together. I hope we will be like that when we reach their age.”
“We will. I have no doubt. We both learned from the best and have seen the worst. I still have your grandparents to do right by. Just because they are no longer here, does not mean they are not with me all the time. Stuff your grandpa said to me still resonates in that noggin of mine every single day.”
“Aww, gawd you are sweet. You’re gonna make me cry.”
“I am a good dad, right? I don’t mess up too much, do I?” KC was very serious now.
“You are an excellent dad. I didn’t think you needed reaffirmation. Look at our little monsters, they are … perfect. They adore you. As does Cole. Josh is getting tired of hearing all about how awesome uncle KC is.” she told him softly.
“Maybe we should have another.”
“KC – uh uh. Don’t you go weak on me, man! Family planning is over and I am making sure no Cameron curse happens for us. Look at Heath and Abby. No thanks.”
“Heath needs urgent stick-from-ass removal. That ninny needs to get real.”
“No Heath bashing. Get to work. Maybe we can start bringing over some stuff. I know you like to work with your shirt off so I put the huge windows by your work space. Get those ladies in here.”
“You’re making me feel cheap, wifey!” he grinned.
“Get over it. Advertising is half the sale.” she laughed back.
“Hang on, this is a shop to sell stuff I made out of wood, right?”
“Well, try that first. If your stuff doesn’t sell, we’ll sell whatever the clients are willing to pay for. We have bills, man.” rubbing her fingers together she tried hard to keep a straight face.
“Hang on, I need to #MeToo that.”
“Oh no, you are my husband. I OWN you.”
They joked around some more until it was time to pick up the kids. Of course they saw the sign as they walked past the shop on the way home.
“Daddy, that store has our name on it!”
“That’s because your mommy bought that for me. She made that. Designed and built. Just for daddy.”
“So you won’t be working from home anymore?”
“I can see home from here. You can come here after school, do your homework, help me, and then mommy will take you home to feed you.”
“Mommy will be here too?”
“Yes, sweetie, daddy and I will be working here now. And no need to take you home, there is a kitchenette for the after school snack. And a yard for Alpine.”
“YAYY! Can we go in and look?”
The store opening was attended plentiful, and they had a healthy amount of customers every day after that.
It didn’t take long for the entire family to find a new routine. The parents would walk their kids to school in the morning, with Alpine their dog, then go to the shop which was half-way in between school and home.
Evey handled the entire office work.
Alpine would stay in the office or yard as he chose, he had toys there. Sometimes he would sneak into the shop and steal some wood to chew on, but most likely to get KC to chase him around some.
When school was out the twins would come to the shop, Evey would cook something, they’d all eat together, Evey would then clean up while overseeing homework, when work was slow and he was not currently working on a project or if he just needed a break, KC would join.
When someone entered, Evey or KC would man the sales desk, whoever was available at the time.
After lunch and homework, the kids would play outside or read inside when the weather was bad.
At 6 pm the shop closed and the entire family went home, had dinner, some TV or game time, then the kids would go to bed and the adults had some alone time. Rinse, repeat.
Sundays were the day off, usually spent with other family and friends.