Up Close and Personal with Marcel Baptiste from When I’m With You
Marcel Baptiste’s vow to share his wealth with others is as steadfast as his commitment to accomplish his goals. His astute business ability has made his family’s business, BF Automotive Enterprises, the top-ranked Black-owned dealership in the country. Under his leadership, the company has maintained several years of steady growth and enjoyed skyrocketing profits.
In the business world, Marcel has garnered a reputation for scrupulous fairness and unmatched ruthlessness, especially when someone tells him no. Now I understand he’s met a tiny woman who’s managed to create mammoth chaos in his life in a relatively short period of time. I’ve also learned she’s done two things no one else has done since he entered adulthood: ignore him and flat-out tell him no.
What a woman, I thought as I took my seat across from the billionaire before the start of our interview. Whoever this member of the female species is has the CEO rifling through the well-stocked liquor cabinet behind his father’s bar like a stray dog trying to find food in a back-alley trash bin. He glances at the neatly stacked bottles as though he’s trying to figure out which beverage will take the edge off his nerves the fastest.
Marcel leans over, absently swirling a snifter of Grand Marnier until it sloshes over the rim.
Q: So, Marcel, who has your feathers ruffled?
A: A woman by the name of Caitlyn Thompson.
Q: Have you ever been this taken by a woman before?
A: No, I haven’t.
Q: You really like Caitlyn, don’t you?
A: No, I’m in love with her.
Q: Oh, I see. Does she feel the same way?
A: Hell, she’s not even talking to me now, so I’m not sure what she’s feeling. God, she’s wonderfully exasperating and has caused me more than one sleepless night.
Q: Do you mind sharing what made Caitlyn so angry with you?
A: I never told her I was the philanthropist who’d received her grant proposal almost a month before we met. For the past five years, I’ve made sizable donations to various causes, but always on the condition of complete anonymity. After we started seeing each other, I should have told her who I was. It’s a mistake I truly regret. I’ve got to find a way to get her to talk to me, but she’s stubborn as a century-old mule and is ignoring me. Funny as it sounds, that’s what I really adore about her.
Q: Have you tried arranging a meeting to see her so you two can talk things over?
A: That’s been impossible so far. She won’t take my calls at work and she won’t even pick up the phone at home. I’ve done everything I know to show her how sorry I am…flowers, cards, candy. I’ve spared no expense with this woman!
Q: Maybe that’s the problem. Did Caitlyn trust you before she knew about your money?”
Q: Have you ever considered the fact that Caitlyn isn’t interested in Marcel Baptiste, the philanthropist?
A: Honestly, I’ve never thought about it from that standpoint.
Q: What do you think attracted Caitlyn to you in the first place?
A: I truly believe she trusted me.
Q: Well, what are you going to do to earn her trust?
A: Brand her.
Q: Hmm…brand her? How in the world do you brand a woman?
A: Listen, any man can wine and dine a woman and buy her the world. But he also has to put his brand on her. Not with material things…that doesn’t count anyway. A man brands his woman by letting her know what’s in his heart. Talking with you has made me realize that I’ve got to share the secrets of my heart with Caitlyn because it’s the only way she’ll trust me again. It’s also the only chance we’ll have at establishing a true relationship.
Q: Do all the men in your family think the same way?
A: This philosophy goes back at least four generations that I know of, so what do you think?
Q: I think you’ve got one hell of a plan in mind, right?
A: Always trust your instincts. Baptiste men go after their women, not just any woman, mind you, but the right one. I plan not only to earn Caitlyn’s trust, but also her heart.
Q: So, what’s the plan?
A: Aah, you’ll have to what to read about it when you pick up a copy of When I’m With You. What I will tell you is this, I’m going to work my plan, then reel Caitlyn in. A good woman is hard to find.