Japan, Ben Carrington's Apartment:

The phone was ringing as Ben Carrington reached the door; he fumbled through his briefcase, past files until he found the passkey. Every time he came home he struggled to find the swipe card, keys were much easier at least they jangled, but the Japanese had to have high-tech solutions to every problem. Finally he swung the door open and dived for the phone.

"Hello Ben?"

"Blake, how nice to hear from you. How's the deal going?"

"Fine Ben just fine, I trust your side of the family is still coming to us for Christmas as there's a proposition Alexis and I want to put to you."

Alexis's Office

"Good Morning Mrs Colby, here's your post and your messages, oh and there's a Mr Marker waiting for you in your office."

"Thank you Stuart, can you see that we're not disturbed."

"It's Mark Mrs Colby, Stuart was sacked last month!"

"Yes of course, Mark!" Alexis retorted, rolling her eyes, with an attitude like that he was unlikely to last long either.

Alexis strode into her office, Jim Marker stood with his back to her gazing out over the Denver skyline. "Good Morning Jim, and to what do I owe the pleasure, isn't it a bit early for someone on vacation?"

"Yes a little but I needed to come and see you before I left. Alexis I have a confession to make."

Alexis crossed over to her desk, reached for and lit one of her cigarettes, then lent back casually against it, "Really, what sort of confession?"

"That I'd rather be staying here, I had a lot of fun at that party, and I've always enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate, especially with such a beautiful woman."

"How cute, come off it Jim what is this visit really about?"

"You don't pull any punches do you? Well I've come to ask a favour, would you and Blake still consider other companies for the deal, its just that I've been talking to a old friend of mine from Stageman Industries and I think that your offer has finally piqued their curiosity."

Alexis exhaled slowly, blowing a plume of smoke whilst she pondered over the possibility. "Well if your sure that they really want in, I must admit I'm surprised they gave us a very definite refusal before, what happened to change their mind?"

Jim shifted uneasily, "Well they haven't exactly changed their mind."

Alexis finished her cigarette and extinguished it sharply, her eyebrows raised quizzingly, "Go on."

Jim slowly wandered over to her, nervously plucking at his cuffs, and then conspiratorially leaned down resting one hand against the desktop.

"Actually the man who I've been talking to is Alex Coleman, John Stageman's right hand man and soon to be son-in-law, now he's being working for John for five years and after the wedding it's expected that John will step down as CEO dividing the company shares between his children and Alex will take over as CEO."

"And you think he might be willing to talk to us?" Alexis cooed.

"What I think is if anyone could persuade them..." Jim trailed off smiling knowingly.

"Well it that the case perhaps a little New Year's trip down under would be just what the doctor ordered!" She retorted, stubbing out her cigarette and smiling back, things were certainly looking up.