The younger man acknowledged the point with a self-conscious shrug. ‘Well, I had heard there might be an internship going...?’
Alex finished reading, wrote his signature on the last page of the document and laid it on top of the done pile before pushing his chair back and stretching his long legs out in front of him. He flexed his shoulders and thought wistfully about the run he had promised himself as a reward for spending the morning at his desk. Not that he begrudged the youngster his time—Nico was a low-maintenance relative, unlike some who looked on him as their own personal bank. He was philosophical about the role but family was important.
‘Consider the decks cleared. You have my attention.’
‘Good of you.’ But not entirely comfortable for him as his uncle Alex’s eyes had always reminded Nico of ice chips. It wasn’t the colour, although that was an unnerving pale blue, as his own mother shared the same strangely coloured eyes with her much younger brother. It was the impression he’d had as a kid that those eyes had always been able to see right into his head. He was no longer a kid but he was always painfully honest around his uncle—just in case.
‘You know that Dad’s offered me a job and I’m grateful,’ came the hasty assurance.
Alex voiced the unspoken addendum. ‘But?’
‘But I’d like to do something that didn’t have anything to do with being his son or your nephew.’
‘I admire your intentions if not your practicality, and you seem to forget I was born with a silver spoon.’
‘And you turned it gold,’ the young man said gloomily.
There was no firm on the brink of the financial abyss for Nico to save. Thanks to Alex the shipping empire founded by his Greek great grandfather had recovered from years of mismanagement and had gone from strength to strength to be hailed as one of the success stories of the global recession.
Of course even if it hadn’t his uncle would still be fabulously rich as Alex had inherited the Arlov vast oil fortune a few years earlier from the Russian great grandfather that Nico had never met. That was when Alex had delegated the day-to-day running of the shipping business to his brother-in-law, Nico’s father.
‘And that is a bad thing?’
‘No, of course not, but no one thinks of you as a little rich boy who’s never done a day’s work in his life.’
A direct quote? Alex wondered, feeling a stab of sympathy for his nephew, who was all of the above but also a rather nice kid.
‘You don’t have anything to prove.’ His eyes fell. ‘Just forget it,’ he mumbled. ‘I knew I was talking out of my... I guess I knew you wouldn’t be up for it. I just wanted to impress the guy from the advertising firm and you should have seen his face when I mentioned your island, Saronia. He lit up like a firework. Pathetic or what.’ He reached out for the tablet he had opened on his uncle’s desk and drew back as Alex withdrew it from his reach.
‘You were trying to impress. Why apologise? Unless your interest is more personal? I am assuming the new face of this cosmetic firm is not ugly—one of your actress friends perhaps? Are you still dating...?’ The name of the pretty girl from the soap escaped him as he idly scrolled down the screen that showed the logo of the cosmetics giant that was apparently launching a new perfume.
It was not a world that Alex knew much about. ‘A big thing, is it, a new perfume?’
‘Massive,’ his nephew assured him. ‘They’re planning to make a series of ads to promote it using the same couple, six ads in all, really glossy and high production values, like a kind of serial each with a story and a cliffhanger like a romantic minisoap. They’ve got a big-name director and this guy from Hollywood to star in it—though he must be at least thirty-five.’
Alex fought a smile. ‘That old!’ Good to know he had three years to go before he was classed as elderly by his nephew.
‘They want to film the first three in an exotic setting—sand, sun and palm trees on an island paradise thing.’
‘And a connection with the golden age of Hollywood would not hurt,’ Alex inserted. He could see why Saronia would appeal to them as a location.
In its day the island had been the setting for his grandfather’s famous parties. Spyros Theakis—a man with a well-documented taste for starlets—reaping the financial rewards of his successful Greek shipping empire, had hosted lavish parties attended by all the stars of the day on his private island. The photos of those legendary events still surfaced from time to time, as did the tales of wild parties, torrid affairs and general excess. Most left out the fact that the mansion had been burnt down during an electrical storm. By some miracle none of the guests had been seriously hurt but the place had never been rebuilt. His grandfather’s fortunes, like those of the island, had gone into decline and the place had become uninhabited.