“Exactly. I could see you with a place here, maybe a place in Greece for the winter.”
James returned at that moment, sliding into his chair. “I see Duncan’s in full salesman mode.” He grinned as he settled himself.
“Hey, that’s part of the job. If I want the best talent America has to offer, I have to make a case for them.”
“Thing with Alex here,” James went on, “is that you’re not just getting the best talent that America has to offer, you’re going international.” He leaned over, reaching into his suitcase and taking out a folder of printouts. “So, you’re a Greek import?”
I tensed a bit, realizing that my past had just become the new subject.
“That’s right. I was born and raised in Corinth—that’s the part that connects the bottom half of Greece to the top.”
“Very little trace of an accent,” James said. “And your English is flawless.”
“That’s no accident. My mother is a small-town Greek woman, but my father…”
That was where the lies had to begin. I hated being untruthful, but it had to be done.
“My father was more of an international sort of man; he worked in the import/export business.”
Of course I didn’t mention that the sort of importing/exporting my father had done involved drugs and guns and stolen goods.
“He did most of his work in New York, and I’ve spent plenty of time there since I was a boy.”
“But you didn’t get into the family business?” James asked. “Why is that?”
Duncan said nothing, his eyes on me as he awaited my response. I was being grilled a bit, but that was fine. I’d expect no less from an operation like Pitt Medical.
“My father’s boss, a man who was more like a member of the family to us, saw something in me. My father wanted me to get into the family business, of course, but this man convinced him that a brain like mine would be wasted in such a field. As such, he encouraged my father to direct me toward medicine.”
“And that he did,” James said, turning his attention back to the papers. “Graduated top of your class from NYU, then went off to Johns Hopkins to do it all over again. And your MCAT scores… they’re something else.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Duncan said, “but with your background, you could be earning millions a year doing facelifts and butt lifts in LA. Why’d you pick trauma surgery at a city hospital in New York?”
“Not taken the wrong way at all, it’s a good question. After growing up in the city, I wanted to do something to give back. But make no mistake, I wasn’t totally altruistic with my skills. New York has no shortage of very, very wealthy men and women willing to pay a premium to have a doctor on call.”
Of course, I didn’t mention that one of these clients was the damn Godfather of the Night. Most of my fortune I’d made through working with Nico, taking my earnings and investing them wisely in property, along with a few up-and-coming tech companies.
“So,” Duncan said with an approving smile. “A nice blend of altruism and business savvy.”
I chuckled. “Something like that.”
“I started this business to help people,” Duncan said. “But I’d be lying through my teeth if I were to tell you I didn’t have money in mind. There’s a certain level of success that you’re only going to achieve if you go into business for yourself. And I make sure to tell every new doctor that joins my team that they can be a part of this.”
“I can attest to that,” James said. “I started off as an assistant surgeon at the Greeley clinic. After putting in a couple of years there, Duncan here noticed that I had quite a flair for numbers. After giving me a test run being in charge of the books for the north Colorado clinics, he gave me the position I have now. And don’t think that I spend all my time clicking around in Excel these days. Pitt Medical operates a dozen free clinics around the area where I volunteer my time when I want to give back.”
“There’s plenty of room for growth,” Duncan said. “And I’ve got a good feeling that a doctor like you would move up quickly in our organization. But if you like Evergreen and want to stay there for a while, that’s your prerogative.”
“Speaking of which,” James said. “We want to do a social media campaign in order to introduce you to Evergreen. A little getting-to-know-you thing so the residents in the area will recognize you.”
I shifted in my seat, not sure how to respond to the news. I wanted to keep a low profile, and a damn social media campaign sounded like the exact opposite of that.
“That a problem?” Duncan asked.
“Just… I’ve never been much of a social media guy, never been one for putting my face out there for attention.”
“Not about attention,” Duncan said. “At least, not that kind. The Pitt Medical clinics that we open in places like Evergreen go for a small-town sort of feel. Having the residents be able to recognize your face and know that you’re their new doctor would go a long way to establish that.”
“Is there any way we can do this without having my face on it?” I asked.