She wanted to get done with her work and spend some time researching, trying to figure out the real facts --- if the real facts could be figured out --- and make some sense of the entire matter for herself above and beyond the opinion she had held for so long. One thing for sure, she couldn't get out of her mind the movie of watching the young woman in the food court have those blank outs or whatever they were and wondering what would happen if the young woman didn't have her mother to depend upon, wondering what would happen if some day things went awry and the young woman had to be all alone and on her own. She also wondered how long the young woman had been in the United States and under what circumstances she had come here with her mother. She also wondered what ICE would do with a handicapped person like Lucia, if they would simply export her back to where she came without a second thought.
Mary Lou hurried through the files, sorting, pausing long enough to complete whatever work was necessary to complete them if completing them was even possible, or otherwise stacking them and getting them ready for Clark Porter.
In the early afternoon she received an unexpected telephone call. Of course, as an accountant, her telephone was always ringing. Some client was always calling to clarify some matter of importance to them: wondering if this or that expenditure could be totally written off or had to be depreciated to somehow protect them from taxes they would otherwise have to pay this year, and whether or not some representation they gave of a transaction would favorably impact their financial statements, and so on and so forth. Almost all of the calls that Mary Lou received pertained to work. It was rare and an exception for her to receive a social telephone call at work. Her social world was small, the smallest planet in the constellation of her life. Therefore, when Bob Orr called to ask her if she wanted to have dinner that night, it was a complete surprise.
"How would you like to go out to you with me tonight?" Bob asked as soon as he identified who he was.
Of course, it hadn't been necessary for him to identify himself to Mary Lou. She knew the moment she heard his voice who it was. His voice was distinctive, low-pitched and even-toned. "This is a surprise," she said. "What do you have in mind?"
"Just a simple dinner together is all," he said, "to talk some more. I'm thinking the Beaumont Grill sounds good to me. On the other hand, since I'm asking you to go out with me, it's totally your decision where we go, and I'm totally open if you have something else in mind. Anyplace is fine with me, really. I like food. What I'm most interested in, is talking to you again. You know, just visiting."
Well, this seemed peculiar, Bob Orr wanting to go out with her and just visit. What was going on with that? Wasn't Bob Orr married again now? Hadn't she heard that? Well, no point in asking herself. "Didn't I hear that you were married again?" Mary Lou asked him. If anything, Mary Lou was quite straightforward. Well, straightforward when it came to dealing with matters like this.
"No, I'm not." He cleared his throat. "You are mistaken. I haven't married again. I'm single and free."
"Oh," she said, "I'm sorry, I just thought I had heard that you had remarried."
"Well, it's true at one point there --- I guess to be honest, you'd have to say I was on the verge of it. But then, I got to thinking that it wasn't the right thing for me to do so soon again. Not at that point, anyway. When I told my fiancé I wasn't ready to get married again, she said, 'Fine, I'll be seeing you later then.' That was a couple of months ago. And I haven't been seeing anyone since then. Then, after we had lunch the other day, I thought I'd give you a call and see if you'd go out with me."
Bob Orr knew her. He knew that she didn't date; that she never had. Surely, he knew the rumors, the speculation. What possessed him to ask her out, anyway? She couldn't help but think there was some ulterior motive to his asking her to go out with him. Could it in some way have something to do with his father, with the indictment of his father, the Senator? Him knowing that somehow she might have something to do with his father's defense --- if that was even true. Well, that would have to be sorted out as things played out. For now though, she would agree to go out with him, although she wasn't inclined to go with him to the Beaumont Grill. "How about we go to the Colorado Cave Mine instead?" The Colorado Cave Mine was a nice, conservative, but also somewhat upscale restaurant not too far from downtown where she worked. "And how about if we go Dutch?"
"Well, that's not necessary, but whatever you say. Say 7 PM?"
"How about 9 PM? That way I can clear some more of this work out that I've got to get done and finished before Monday."
"Sure. Nine PM is fine. Should I pick you up at home or at the office?"
"At the office, please. Just wait out there in the car in front. You know, there on City Creek, by the main entrance to the mall there."
"Okay then; I'll see you soon."
Mary Lou hung up, but she didn't forget the call from Bob for the rest of the day. She couldn't help but wonder why Bob Orr was calling her up to go out to 'just visit.' It just didn't make much sense.
What was more peculiar, however, was the very next telephone call she got. It was Mark Goodrich, and he wondered if she could meet with him and Senator Calvin Orr on Sunday at his house. "Of course," she said, and she asked Mark for his address and wrote it down. "What time?"
"How about in the afternoon, say 4 PM. Will that work out for you?"
"Yeah, that's perfect."
The rest of the afternoon and then on into the evening it was difficult to think about much else other than those two callss. There was the bewilderment about Bob's invitation to go out to eat and the the meeting with Mark and Senator Orr set for Sunday. She figured the meeting between her and Goodrich and Senator Orr pretty much sewed up who Mark Goodrich's client was and that she would be working with him on the Senator. It seemed awfully coincidental, her getting the two telephone calls, one right after the other like that. It added a certain degree of intrigue to the matter, not that it had lacked intrigue before, but it also created substantial anxiety in her life. She didn't have a lot of experience in working with the rich and powerful --- well, the supposedly rich. But Senator Orr was definitely powerful.
Mary Lou didn't think about much other than her work and the telephone calls for the rest of the day. She didn't even have time or inclination to think about the two women in the mall; that is, she didn't think of them until about 6:30 PM, the normal time when she started to get hungry and her stomach started growling. She finally decided to walk to the mall and get a drink and a pretzel from Orange Julius.
The food court seemed busier than usual. On Fridays, people seemed to go out for lunch more than on weekdays. As she walked into the food court she saw Lucia the very first thing. The young girl was looking right at her, almost as if she had been hoping for her, expecting her to show up. She hurried and ordered and took her tray sit with Lucia.
"Hi Lucia," she said, "do you mind if I join you?"
The young girl smiled, and held up her new book --- Walk Two Moons --- and said, "I started reading it."
Mary Lou put her tray on the table, pulled her chair back and draped her jacket there, and sat down. "Good for you," she said. "I hope you like it. I got to thinking about it, about whether it was appropriate for you after I gave it to you, and about how different Salamanca's life is from yours. I hope the story in the book isn't so different from yours or the stories in your life that you are acquainted with, that you will not want to read it or be interested in. Maybe, if you want we can discuss it as you read it and if you have questions about it, we can talk about them when I come here to have dinner. If that's okay with you and your mother, of course. Here, I got you a drink --- if you'd like one, that is. Is that okay?"