He flipped through the channels, landed on Sports Center and left it there. Leaning his head back against the wall, he thought back to his horse, Stone. Stone, a Palomino Quarter Horse, was just a year old when Jackson’s parents surprised him for his birthday. Now at 15, Stone was a strong, well trained, and great to ride. His parents had kept Stone stabled and trained while Jackson was in California and he was excited to get to ride Stone again. Jackson remembered riding him all over Rakesford, and especially down the lake trails. Thinking about riding to the lake, he wondered if Alexis Venn was still living in town. She had been the only one in Rakesford that could give him a run for his money on horseback. He meant to ask his parents about her, but it always slipped his mind. When he visited them tomorrow, he would have to ask. Sitting upright, he checked the clock again, 5:30. Time for him to get cleaned up to meet his new co-workers.

25 minutes later, Jackson was slipping his wallet and cell phone into his jeans pocket and heading out his hotel room door. He hoped that jeans and a button up were ‘cleaned up’ enough for these guys. The Los Angeles office was fairly laid back, but he didn’t know how the others were run. When the elevator doors opened on the lobby, he saw 2 gentlemen standing at the concierge desk – in jeans and polo shirts too. They both looked a little uncomfortable, trying to make small talk with one another. He knew they were from different offices, but assumed they might have met before. Although, he hadn’t met either one, so he wasn’t sure where his assumption had come from. One looked like he was in his late 20’s like Jackson, probably about 6’ tall, with a shaved head. The other looked more like his mid 40’s, graying brown hair and only about 5’6”.

“Hello gentlemen, I’m Jackson Taylor from the LA office”, Jackson extended his hand to the man on the right of him first, which happened to be the older one. They shook hands. He had a good grip, but it was obvious from the way he held that he felt he needed to maintain control of situations.

“Good evening Jackson, I’m John Peterson from the Miami office and this”, John gestured at the younger man, “is Clark Worthington from the Chicago office”.

“Hi Jackson”, Clark extended his hand, “and thank you for the introduction, John. As he said, I am from the Chicago office, and I was brought here as the Client Manager. John was telling me that he is the new Human Resources Manager, so I assuming that you are the new Creative Manager?”

“That would be correct. Bruce said that we were to co-manage all hiring, but that we would each be the managers of our own departments once we found the new employees. Unless you guys are in desperate need to get started tomorrow, I figured we could take a 3-day weekend to get settled and start business on Monday?” Jackson waited for a response.

Clark grinned and smiled, he could tell Jackson and he was on the same page. “Sure, sounds good.”
Jackson sensed John’s hesitation, but heard him say, “Yeah, that’s okay”. John obviously was more determined to get started immediately.

With that settled, Jackson decided to see if the guys were ready to get dinner. He was starved after his flight. “So, are we ready to head to dinner? There is a great steak place that I know of about a block and a half away – if it’s still here. We can walk there, if that’s okay with you both?” They both looked at him, a little confused. “Oh, sorry, I grew up in Rakesford, which is about 20 minutes from Austin. I moved out to California 9 years ago.” Jackson’s explanation lifted the puzzlement from their faces. He continued, “I’ll check with the concierge and make sure the place I’m thinking of is still in business.”