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My Little Mystery Part 2

Cricket falls for her new caretaker and almost loses her company.

Emily Truesdale woke up looking out her bedroom window, as the sun rose over the ocean. The bedroom in her estate faced east to catch the morning sun. She loved this time of day, as everything around her stretched and woke up with the sun rising. It meant a new beginning for her day.

She had through manipulation, fraud and death become the head of Wolfs Head Oil. It was not a job she wanted, but was the result of her training at the Bard School. She had been their top graduate ever. Now, she was running the company as its CEO. However, it was not her first love. Her first love was outside her window.

Emily, affectionately known as Cricket, loved and protected the white wolf, wherever it was endangered in the world. Through her foundation, she had saved over two hundred endangered packs. Outside her window, she had her own wolf pack running free on her estate. She had started with a mating pair of white wolves. In the five years, she owned them, she had successfully bred over thirty white wolves. Her pack had grown, and been frolicking happily on her estate.

It was time, the pack had grown so large, that the estate was no longer big enough to manage it. Cricket had to do something. Today, she had taken the day off to interview, and hire a caretaker for her wolf pack. It was not an easy task. Finding the right person had taken a considerable search of scientists and doctors world wide. It had been narrowed down to three candidates. They were arriving today for personal interviews with Cricket, and to meet the pack.

The first candidate, although qualified was deathly afraid of the wild pack. The pack sensed this, and turned on her immediately. Cricket had to stop the pack from attacking. The second candidate, also very qualified was not to Cricket's liking. Not only was the caretaker going to work with the pack, but he or she had to work closely with Cricket in running the foundation. That was a very important role which Cricket wanted filled. It was now down to the last candidate. Cricket hoped that he was the right fit.

The candidate entered the office, immediately Cricket sat up. Here was a man who was tall, dark from working outside, ruggedly handsome and oozing charm. Cricket was awestruck. Never had she met a man who had so captivated her. He walked briskly with a strong confidence and purpose. He introduced himself as C. L. Arctos Henderson. He had changed his name to be that of his favorite animal, Canis Lupus Arctos, more commonly known as Arctic wolf or White wolf. As they shook hands, a charge was felt passing between them, immediately establishing a kinship bond. Cricket was hooked. She had met her new caretaker. She felt in her heart that he was the one. The name he had been given at birth was Cal, and that is still what people called him. Cricket spent the next hour talking about her pack and her foundation. Cal listened injecting little comments occasionally. The whole process went extremely well. All that was left was to meet the pack.

As Cricket and Cal stood to go meet the pack, she brushed against his side. There was a feeling, an aura surrounding this man that drew Cricket closer. She was aware of it, when he entered her office. At first, she was wary of him, but as time progressed, she did not want to leave his presence. It was an animal magnetism, that drew her to him. They approached the patio doors leading to the pack area. Cal reached out and opened the door for Cricket. The pack was around, and when they heard the door open, they perked up and looked at Cricket. She stepped out, followed by Cal, who quietly closed the door. The pack ran toward Cricket and slowed. They turned at the approach of Cal, and laid down at his feet. Cal sat down, and the pack leader came up, and nuzzled him under the chin. Cricket stood there with her mouth hanging open. She had never seen the pack leader this docile with a man. She knew immediately, that this was the man for her and the pack.

Cricket walked over to Cal and the pack leader and sat with them.

“ Can you stay for dinner tonight? We have a lot to discuss. You have the position. I need to know when you can start.” Cricket spoke in a semi-pleading voice. She so wanted this man to say yes.

Cal replied enthusiastically, “Yes! I am all yours to do with as you please. I can start right now.”

Cricket smiled, extended her hand to seal the deal. Again a spark ran through her body as they touched. She was amazed, the hunt was over. A new part of her life had been opened, and she was embarking on a new journey. Cal stood up to go back into the house. He offered Cricket his hand to assist her getting up. Their hands stayed clasped, as they walked to the house. Cricket had never felt so safe and secure. This was a whole new feeling.

Meanwhile, as Cricket was interviewing the candidates, things at Wolfs Head Oil were not going well. A group of middle executives, had been plotting to take control away from Cricket, and install their own CEO. Their major objection was one of company direction. Instead of focusing on the old line of oil exploration and drilling, the company was looking into alternative sources and exploiting them. Cricket believed that to make great profits, new sources of cheap energy were needed. Solar energy farms were being built, and used by cities and companies. Wind farms were up and functioning. The company was growing and extremely profitable. To do this product expansion the company scaled back its oil exploration and drilling. The government was opening new oil lands in the Arctic Circle. Companies were moving in bidding on the drilling rights. Wolfs Head Oil was not participating for two reasons.

First, the cost of exploration was very high. The exploration had no guarantee, that there was oil to be found. It also had significant environmental impact. Second, the drilling was very tough as most new wells were extremely deep though bedrock. This was very costly and very risky. If a well came in there were billions to be made but also to be lost. One factor in the case of these new fields were the environmentalists. They could foul up your equipment, keep you in court or just harass the workers.

In the case of this new field opening up, there was a group of supporters, who were protecting the home of the white wolf population. This group had its headquarters on Long Island, New York. The group was small but well funded and powerful. They had thwarted several oil explorations and drilling attempts. Their court tactics always succeeded. Little did these executives know, that their CEO was the head of this group. She was also the reason, that they had not bid on any of the oil lease contracts. If it ever was traced back to Cricket, it would be disastrous for the company, the foundation, and Cricket.

The tactic to be used by the executives was written into the by-laws of the corporation. This by-law stated that any member of the board of directors can be removed by a voice vote of two-thirds of the board if they are acting contrary to the conduct of the normal business of the corporation. The executives were convinced that not bidding on the oil leases was in direct violation of this by-law. They were convinced that this would take Cricket down and force the board to elect a new CEO. Under normal circumstances, they would have been fired for such a charge for exactly the same infraction. However, these executives had been able to collect enough evidence and material to force the board to vote in their favor.

They were using tactics that Cricket used to shutdown companies when she was in high school. They did not know this, but would soon find out that they were out gunned by Cricket and her staff. Cricket's staff was already mounting a defense to prevent the company from changing the CEO. Cricket got a phone call from her staff at home and was racing around setting Cal up to take over in her absence. Cal was able, but a bit overwhelmed by this sudden change of focus.

“ Are you sure that you will be alright taking over the Foundation while I am gone?”

“ Yes, Cricket, I will be all right taking over. I ran a small foundation in Sweden a few years ago. It is in good hands. You go take care of the company and get rid of those slimy pests.”

Cricket smiled as she left. She felt really good about hiring Cal. He was capable, the pack liked him, best of all he was handsome and single. Cricket's heart was beating a little faster and there was a spring in her step, which had been gone since the death of the CEO of Wolf's Head Oil. As she was driving to the office, Cricket was singing to the music on the radio. She had not done that in years. She drove into the parking garage and parked in her spot. She entered the elevator and went directly to the executive floor.

As she got off, her assistant Monica greeted her with a book containing the events that had transpired that day. They went directly to the executive conference room which was now labeled The War Room. When Cricket took over the company she set up some of her ex-classmates to be her staff. From this position they were able to perform using the skills they learned in school. They traveled all over the world on company business. Now they had to work together as a team to stave off the onslaught of the ruthless executives.

The enemy executive team had discovered that the head of the foundation, who opposed the exploration and drilling, was named Marcia Shaw. This was Cricket's original name before she went to the Bard School and changed her name. Where she lived and anything about Marcia Shaw ended abruptly. They could not find any information from before she left the USA for schooling. They had hired a team of investigators to gather information on Marcia Shaw and Cricket. It would not be long before they would connect the two as the same person.

“ Monica, do we have any allies in the executive group which is trying to dethrone me?” Cricket asked.

“ We do, but he is being very low key to collect as much information to pass on to us.”

“ How do we meet with him?”

“ He leaves a mark in the executive washroom when he wants to meet.”

“ How do we get him to meet us?”

“ We invert the mark in the washroom.”

“ We need to meet him and set up a strategy to miss-direct their efforts.”

“ OK. I will set it up for tonight. Where do we meet him?” Monica asked.

“ Have him go to the small gallery opening in the Village tonight at 9:00 pm. I will be there as a patron.”

“ Are you sure that will be safe?”

“ This is a new gallery dedicated to highlighting photographs of new nature photographers. I will be there checking out if there are any wolf photos. We can meet accidentally.”

Monica set up the meet for that evening and Cricket went, looking innocent as usual. She had told Cal to go to the gallery too, representing the foundation. The spy for Cricket was named Stefan. He had been a classmate of Crickets at Bard School. He owed her his allegiance, because Cricket rescued him from a botched bombing he did. When he walked in he saw Cricket, but ignored her for a while. Cricket had been standing talking to Cal about the foundation. Stefan approached the two of them and said, “Hello, boss.”

Cricket said, “Hello Stefan, this is Cal, the head of the foundation protecting wolves worldwide. You might want to talk with him for a while.” Cricket walked away to let the two men meet and get acquainted. The men headed off to the bar to socialize. Cricket moved around the gallery greeting old friends and making her presence known. About an hour later, she moved over to Cal and Stefan. They were talking but not arguing as one would expect.

“ Hello boys. How is it going with you two. I thought you would be fighting by now.”

Stefan replied, “On the contrary boss, Cal is a very charming and knowledgeable man. He actually may be of use to us in quelling the uprising of the managers.”

“ Oh, I discovered, he is a man of many talents earlier, but this is something new.”

Stefan moved away to allow Cricket and Cal to chat. Cricket moved closer to Cal and felt the aura again. She touched his arm and felt the shock throughout her body. She wanted to hold onto him, but had to remain aloof. She looked into his eyes and felt as if she was swimming in the pools made from his eyes.

“ What did you tell Stefan? Does he know of our relationship? We need to be secretive until this battle is over.”

“ Don't trouble yourself Cricket. I told him about a similar event, that I stopped in Sweden at a company there. It was the same scenario and was easy to thwart.”

“ I will ask Stefan later. Now I want to show you some magnificent wolf photographs.” Cricket grasped Cal's arm and led him through the gallery. A few patrons were watching this couple wend their way through the crowd. They looked so comfortable together and people were smiling at them.

As they were looking at the photographs, Stefan walked up interrupting them. Cricket left Cal to examine the exhibit. She and Stefan walked over to the bar, got a drink and moved to a secluded alcove.

“ Cal told me that you and he discussed how a similar event in Sweden got shutdown quickly a few years ago. Do you think it can work here?”

“ It looks like it will work very well. We need to plant a little information to distract them. Once that is done we can lead them away to their demise.”

“ What will it cost me and the Company?”

“ The Company will not have to spend a dime. You however may have to give up your second life of the protector of world wide wolves. It will be a tough decision, but it will save all you love.”

“ OK, can you work with Monica to put the bait in place, direct them out of the way, and trap them? We need to start this right away.”

“ Sure, Monica and I are old friends, who have worked together on many occasions.”

“ What will I have to give up to make this go away?”

“ The knowledge that you are the head of the foundation out to save the threatened wolf packs worldwide. You will have to disclose your involvement.”

“ Is there any way I can protect my name?”

“ I can't see how you can. They are closing in on Marcia Shaw very quickly.”

“ OK, I will have to consider that overnight. It will be a hard thing to give up, but if I have to I will.”

“ Good Night Stefan. Thank you for being a loyal friend and employee. Your help will not go unrewarded.”

“ No need for any praise or acknowledgment. Just having a job, which allows me the latitude you give me, is reward enough.”

Cricket bid Stefan good night and went in search of Cal. She found him staring at a wonderful photograph of a white wolf pair standing on a cliff with the 'Northern Lights' above them. It was a piece of art that Cricket and Cal wanted for the estate. Cricket bought it, so that Cal and she could enjoy it, remembering their first time out in public. Cal took Cricket's arm and escorted her to her car. She turned to Cal and kissed him on the lips.

She put her arms around Cal and whispered in his ear, “Thank you for giving Stefan the information to thwart the take over. You have been my knight in shining armor.”

Cal replied, “I had to do it. There is something between us I can't explain, but I want it to continue.”

Cricket got in her car and drove away humming. She was happy and relieved to be on the road to recovering her company. Her life was looking up. She had a strong ally in Stefan. She had a very close friend and possible love of her life in Cal. Life was good.

The next morning, Monica and Stefan met and laid out strategy to wrest the company back for Cricket. It involved disclosing that Marcia Shaw was indeed the head of the foundation saving the wolves. Monica and Stefan knew who Marcia Shaw really was but were sworn not to reveal it. Meanwhile Monica had started to set up a dummy life for Marcia. It was not difficult to do and she and Stefan had done it many times. The hard part was to get it all centered around an area near Cricket's estate. This had to be done because the foundation had its address as Cricket's estate. What they did was to get a house nearby and install Cal in it as the resident owner. This became the headquarters of the foundation and could throw off the executive group. Several things were also laid out to point to the existence of Marcia Shaw there as well.

It did not take long and the investigators, that had been hired, fell for the diversion. The report hit the hands of the management enemy and they went after Marcia Shaw with a tenacity that had not been seen ever. They were out to find out where the money came from and shut the funds off. Monica and Stefan had made finding the money trail very difficult, but it would eventually lead to a special fund set up by a group of oil companies. The executives will be blowing the whistle on their competitors and end up being driven out of their jobs and become not hire-able anywhere. In other words they will have cut their own professional throats. It would just take some time for it to happen, but when it did all the managers will resign in shame. Monica and Stefan felt good about their creation. Marci a Shaw was alive and real. Cricket was safe to go on.

When Cricket heard what had been done, she cheered. It was a scheme, done in the style, she had pioneered. She was very proud of Monica and Stefan for planning it and putting it together without her help. She could disavow all knowledge of the trap and plead innocence. Now she could sit back and think about her life with Cal and where that was headed.

She knew Cal was someone special, but was he the one she wanted in her life. He was a handsome man and her wolf pack liked him. He seemed capable and did help save her company for her. Their 'date' at the gallery was memorable and she felt elated with him. Now she had to see, if she can feel about him, as she felt about Roger Wolfson the former head of Wolf's Head Oil. She was skeptical because of what happened to Roger, but Cal was stronger and different. She wanted to go home and spend time with Cal and see if the spark was real or imagined.

But alas that is another story for another time.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

All other rights reserved.

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