Chapter 2: The Ultimatum

1116 Words
Rose Green stood outside her father's office building hoping her father had good news to share with her. He'd been hinting that he would retire soon. If that happened, Rose would take over the matchmaking empire that her father built. Her parents had been training her since birth to do this and finally, it was coming to fruition. She had plans. She had ideas of how to expand the business and make it better. She could hire someone to create an app, among other things. Her pulse quickened as she opened the doors of the small building that had her last name on it. Her parents owned the building that You've Met Your Match's offices were located. Her steps were light as she waved at the receptionist. She was excited at the prospect of taking over the company since her whole life had been built around that inevitability. Her family had been matchmakers for five generations, and she would happily continue that. She paused at the desk of her father's assistant, Brandy. “He's in?" “He's expecting you." Rose detected some trepidation in Brandy's demeanor, but maybe she wasn't looking forward to working for Rose instead of her father. Rose had always made it a point to get along with Brandy, but maybe her father's assistant wasn't so sure about her. Rose brushed aside her concerns. She'd work it out because she always did. Pushing open the door to her father's inner office, she paused a moment. This would be her office soon if her father retired. She took in his silver-streaked hair and pressed suit. He was always the picture of professionalism. “Dad." Her father spun around in his chair to look at her. A frown creased his face. Of course, he didn't like what she wore. She didn't have suits. Instead, she wore skirts and blouses, both usually having a lot of color. Her father had mentioned her wardrobe on more than one occasion, but she had ignored him. When she took over, she was going to do things differently. Her wardrobe was just one facet of that. The world had changed and her father hadn't seemed to notice. The suit was out and business casual was in. She might institute that on her first day. She was getting ahead of herself. Her father hadn't announced his retirement yet, but she figured it was only a matter of time. “Rose." He didn't rise to greet her. She had friends whose fathers always hugged them. Her father wasn't that way. He saved his warmth for his clients and she'd learned early on that they were everything to him. She swallowed her disappointment as she had done many times. “Close the door and have a seat, Rose." She did as he asked, waiting for him to speak. Excitement threatened to make her wiggle, but her father would mention it. Instead, she clasped her hands together in her lap. “Do you know why I've asked you here today?" Ugh. “No, Dad. I don't." He rested his hands on his immaculate desk. How did he get any work done with no files on his desk? She shook herself and turned her attention to his face. “As you know, your mother and I have been talking about retiring for a few years now." “Yes. It's been the topic at many dinners," Rose said. She wished he'd get to the point before her mind wandered to how she'd redecorate this office. It was too staid for her tastes. “Yes, but your mother and I have concerns." This was the first she was hearing about them. “Oh?" “Your mother and I have been married for more than thirty years." “Thirty-four." “Yes. And we are an example of a successful marriage, which works well--being matchmakers." Here it comes. Rose's breath left her. Her marriage hadn't been successful. She hadn't taken her parents' advice about who to marry and she'd ended up divorced. Now a single mother, her father had never mentioned it being a problem. He was now, she was sure. “You think my marital status is a hindrance to being a successful matchmaker? I have dozens of married clients who beg to differ. I don't share that I'm divorced." “But word gets around," her father said. “Word gets around only because you spread it," she said with a little more bite in her word than she intended. “One must be honest in business. You know I've always ascribed to that." “Yes, but that doesn't mean we need to bare our souls. Why are you bringing this up?" “Because you not finding another husband is a concern to your mother and me. Not just on a personal level, but a business level. Keegan needs a man in his life, but so do you." She bristled at the idea that she needed a man. She and her son Keegan were doing just fine. She had a restraining order out on her ex and he was only allowed to see Keegan during supervised visits. “I don't need a man to do my job, Dad." “Well, it's for appearances. Trust in the fact that you can find your own match and by extension find matches for others." “I think you're concerned for no reason. I've been doing my job well for two years. I've been running the branch in Mountain Home for more years than that. I have many satisfied customers. Have you looked at my reviews online? Five stars." He put up his hand and she stopped talking. “I don't care about your online reviews. This is an old business and we do things a certain way because they have worked." “Maybe it's time to update." Her father sighed. She knew she was talking to a brick wall when it came to innovating. He'd resisted the idea of an app to get more clientele. It was the way of a decade ago and their family business had not caught up yet. They were going to eventually fall behind, but her father was not interested in listening to her. “We've talked about this, Rose. We know what works, and computer algorithms cannot replace the human connection." “I've never talked about replacing it, just supplementing it. Expanding to another market," Rose said. Her father shrugged. “Doesn't matter. I'm not retiring." There it was. Her father was going to die in his office chair and she'd have to clean up the mess. She sighed. “Why not?" “Because I can't leave the business to you until you're married again."
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