Monday, March 28, 2016

Tuesday morning following my arrival in the village, there was an email from Francis, he wanted me to review a business case. "Bill me your normal consulting rate, but I need your report before Monday," he wrote. There was a link to a lock box that contained dozens of documents and that afternoon a box arrived containing hundreds of additional pages. I began to look at the material as I sipped coffee in my robe and it was after midnight and I would probably still been in my robe but for needing to take Wags out.

Sunday night I hit send to and email with a summary of my findings and a link to the hundred or so pages of supporting documents that I  added to the pile. Monday afternoon he called asking if I had my passport with me, I did, why I asked? He wanted me to join him in NY for meetings Wednesday and Thursday, there would be a plane waiting for me at 6AM at Nantes Atlantique. 

After we hung up, I thought, "do I have anything to wear?" The house in the village is about relaxing and when I have had business meetings there, they've been business casual, but a look in my closet turned up a couple of suits that I'd taken out of my rotation of Paris duds and brought to the house just in case. Mirelle volunteered to take Wags and I decided to take a hotel near the airport to reduce the drama in getting there so early.

The flight was a NetJet charter that landed at JFK with a helicopter connection to Manhattan, where an aid met me and brought me to his hotel. A breakfast meeting of Francis' NY staff was in progress when I arrived. After introductions, I was asked to summarize my report and Francis gave me my instructions for the meeting, observe and note inconsistencies. A large conference room had been retained and each side had a small battalion of bankers and attorneys with the battle engaged precisely at 10AM. I took a seat at the far end of the table, enabling me to observe both the other team and our people. Around 11:30 I closed the door to my room and collapsed into sleep, still dressed.

Thursday evening, I sank into the leather of the plush seat of Francis's plane, watching the waters of Long Island Sound below, Manhattan behind us and the coming dark from the east ahead. The attendant poured us each a Cognac, his straight-up, mine over ice.  He proposed a toast, I thought it was to the still prospective deal, but it was for me. "To you Kim, you're back." "Do you think so," I asked? He nodded, you've lacked the confidence you had in yourself, but you should have it back." It was my turn to nod and placed the glass on the tray, closed my eyes not to awaken till we made our approach to Nantes.



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