Taking Care of Business(3)

By: Brenda Jackson

When the elevator came to a stop on the bottom floor, Tag couldn’t help but look forward to the day his and Renee Williams’ paths would cross again.

“So, there you have it, the gist of what the social worker said today,” Tag said to his siblings at dinner that evening. The four of them had met at a restaurant in Manhattan, not far from the building that housed the Elliott publications. Gannon, at thirty-three, was second in command to his father at Pulse; Liam, at thirty-one, was currently working in the corporate financial department and Bridget, who was twenty-eight, was the photo editor for Charisma.

“And you’re sure this social worker knows what she’s talking about?” Bridget asked, taking a sip of her wine. There was a worried expression on her face. “The decisions Mom has made lately are so unlike her. It’s as if she’s going to the extreme.”

Tag nodded, knowing where his sister was coming from, especially their mother’s decision to have a double mastectomy. But all he had to do was recall his meeting earlier that day with Renee Williams to know the woman did know what she was talking about. She seemed very competent and professional…as well as beautiful. The latter seemed to stick out in his mind and he couldn’t let go of it. Even now, he couldn’t help but remember the smiles he had coaxed out of her after apologizing for his behavior.

“Yes, she knows what she’s talking about,” he finally said, responding to Bridget’s question. “But as I was reminded today, it was Mom’s decision to make and what she needs from all of us is our love and support.”

Tag felt that he and his siblings always had a rather close relationship, and a crisis such as this was making them that much closer. After thanking the waitress who handed them menus, he turned to his older brother Gannon. Gannon had recently become engaged and Tag, like everyone else, was happy for him. Erika was just what Gannon needed, not to mention, as an editor, an asset to Pulse.

“How is Dad holding out?” Tag asked Gannon.

Gannon, who had been studying the menu, glanced up at his youngest brother. “He’s doing all right. Today he cancelled an important meeting with a representative from St. John’s Distributors to fly with Mom to Syracuse to check on one of her charities there.”

“It’s hard to believe he’s actually putting all work aside,” Liam said, shaking his head. All of them knew what a workaholic Michael Elliott was, but even so, they also knew what a strong marriage their parents had.

“That just goes to show how much Mom means to him,” Bridget said smiling, touched by the way their father was devoting his time to his wife during her medical crisis.

Bridget glanced over at Tag. “This social worker you met with today. What can you tell us about her?”

Tag leaned back in her chair and smiled. “Her name is Renee Williams. She’s African-American, probably about your age. She’s very professional and definitely seems to know her business. There is also a calming quality about her that can make anyone feel comforted and reassured.”

Liam nodded. “She sounds like just the person Mom needs. This illness has made her spirits decline, and that bothers me more than anything.”

That was bothering Tag as well, but he believed Renee could help his mother get through this particular emotional stage. “Ms. Williams is also very beautiful.” The moment the statement left Tag’s lips he knew it was a mistake, because it immediately captured the attention of his siblings.

Gannon raised a dark brow at Tag. “Oh, you happened to notice that, did you?”

Bridget and Liam chuckled. Everyone knew how it was with Tag when it came to his interest in women. His mind was spent more on business than romantic pursuits.

Tag knew where his siblings were coming from and smiled. “Yes, I noticed.” The last thing he needed was to be thinking about a woman, especially one as good-looking as Renee Williams, but he couldn’t help himself. There was just something about her that had touched him on a level that no woman had done before.

“Mmm, the salmon looks good tonight.”

Tag glanced over at his sister who was studying her menu. However, his brothers were still staring at him with curious gazes. Uncomfortable with being the center of their attention, he frowned. “Hell, it was just an observation. Don’t try and make anything of it.”

Gannon laughed. “If you say so, kiddo.”


“M s. Williams? This is a pleasant surprise.”

Renee glanced up from the novel she was reading to gaze into the friendly blue eyes of Teagan Elliott. “Mr. Elliott, how are you?” she said, smiling and adjusting her reading glasses on her nose. “And how is your mother doing?”