Juan Jr. wasn’t bothered by the turbulence during the flight. He and his sister were licensed pilots trained by their father. If even half of the stories their dad related during the flight training was true, then this flight was a piece of cake. Juan Jr. had flown as co-pilot several times with his dad, even to visit Brazil, but commercial was deemed the best avenue during this assignment.
Thoughts of Gracie crept into his mind as the plane started its descent. He’d not been able to talk about the assignment with Gracie. No one wanted to disturb her during the onboarding process she expected to take place for the first week or two. Perhaps, if she was able to get a position without family intervention, he might too, after this assignment. Juan Jr. and Gracie had spoken several times about whether they wanted to be a part of the family business or not. The pro and con list on that subject had gone back and forth with each of them arguing one position then another over the last year. It was their decision. Juan wasn’t certain if this assignment was a gentle push by his parents to step into the shallow end of the job pool to see if he liked it.
Working his way through customs relatively quickly, he was delighted at seeing his Uncle Carlos just outside the security area. Juan reached out to shake hands like a man, and then Carlos enveloped him in a manly hug and clap on the back. Carlos was slightly taller than his brother, but with the same muscled frame. His raven-black hair was greying, and he had more silver in his mustache than Juan recalled. He was deceivingly easygoing, but Juan Jr knew this would be the second-best man to have beside him in a fight, his father being first.
“Welcome, Juan,” greeted Carlos. “So good to see you. I see you brought enough luggage for a month! Aunt Lara is at her office but will be home early for supper. Did you want to practice combat driving here with the trip home, or wait for a couple of days until you get acclimated? The drivers are still crazy, but it is your choice.”
Juan grinned and replied, “I can wait for a couple of days, but it’s good to know your insurance will cover me, Uncle.” As an afterthought Juan innocently asked, “Will this be like a video game? If we get killed on the way home, can we use another life to continue to play?”
Carlos laughed. “Ah, so the stories of your driving aren’t exaggerated. Good to know. Come on, the car is this way.”
Carlos had been surprised at how grown his nephew was since even last year. Juan Jr. was nearly as tall as Carlos, but not totally filled out; leaner and sinewy. His jet-black hair and skin tone showed his Mexican heritage, which filled Carlos with pride, even with the blue eyes he earned from his mother. Carlos grinned as it appeared Juan Jr. had not yet had to shave daily. After the long flight he had no hint of a shadow on his cheeks. He looked forward to their sparing together and wanted to check how much his brother had taught him. The sparring partner Carlos found locally, Pedro, was good, but not like his brother or even Julie. Tomorrow morning, they might try some gym work to see how much his brother had taught the lad.
When they reached the car, Juan stowed his luggage in the back seat and they both got in and buckled up. Once outside of the airport Carlos started up the conversation.
“Tell me all the news of the family, Juan.”
“Papa is doing great and in the process of training a couple of new candidates for their business. Mom still likes to go on assignment. She really wanted to do this one instead of me, but felt a fresh pair of eyes might see differently.
“Gracie went off a few days ago to New York City. She landed a new job on her own with Global Bank. She thinks it will be mostly a marketing position, but analytics will come into play as well. They actually found her background from her university and asked her to apply. The process was several weeks long and she didn’t even tell the folks until the offer was made. Mother was a little concerned, but did her normal background checking, like she does with everyone that comes anywhere close to us, before allowing it. Papa wasn’t thrilled about his darling Gracie going on her own to the big city.”
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