Angel Falling Softly

Chapter 4

Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth

Milada’s driver from Executive Ground Transport was young, well groomed, and extraordinarily polite. His name was Steven Day. A premed student at the University of Utah, he was married and had two children, a fact she found stunning in this day and age. Steven met her at the front desk and accompanied her to the limo.

“Eagle Gate Plaza,” she said. She placed her parasol on the seat next to her. It was a short ride, so she kept on her gloves and hat. The Lincoln merged into traffic. Milada said, “Steven, I gather that you’re working your way through college.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Is this not difficult, with a family to support at the same time?”

He glanced at her reflection in the rearview mirror. “It’s a lot of work, ma’am, but we’re getting by.”

“You must have married quite young to already have two children.”

“We met at Brigham Young University my freshman year. We got married right after my mission.”

“Your mission?” She recalled her Frommer’s Utah guidebook. “Ah, you mean a proselytizing mission.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Steven turned onto South Temple and stopped beneath the pink granite facing of Eagle Gate Plaza. He walked around the car and opened the door. Milada said, “I shouldn’t be needing you for the rest of the afternoon.” She added, “From now on, we shall use the parking garage entrance.”

Milada rode the elevator to the seventeenth floor, where Loveridge & Associates occupied all but two suites. She presented her card to the secretary at the front desk. “I’m here to see Mr. Loveridge.”

“Just a minute, ma’am.” She digested the information on the card. “Your sister’s in the south conference room.”

Kammy could be counted on to be punctual.

A minute later, a man walked up to her. “I’m Edward Christensen. Mr. Loveridge has asked me to take care of any concerns you might have.”

As Jane had predicted, they’d assigned her a handler. Milada supposed that her embossed business card reading Chief Investment Officer, Daranyi Capital Management was not by itself persuasive, especially when the woman presenting it looked barely twenty.

They shook hands. “Milada,” he said, motioning for her to accompany him, “we’ve arranged for one of our conference rooms to be at your disposal whenever you’re in town. Here we are.”

Milada strode ahead of him into the conference room. Kammy was leaning back in a chair reading a medical journal. Her stocking feet rested against the edge of the heavy oak table. Her platinum-blond hair was tied back in a ponytail. Her fedora and slicker sat on the table. She was wearing green hospital scrubs.

Kammy looked up at Milada, her eyes shielded by her wraparound sunglasses. “It’s about time. The seminar starts in thirty minutes.”

“The seminar?” Milada echoed.

“The Biomedical Informatics Seminar at the University of Utah. You insisted, remember?”

Milada remembered.

The room faced south. She closed the curtains, removed her hat, and took out her small Sony laptop. Edward stood in the doorway like a bellhop waiting for a tip.

“Is there anything else, Milada?”

From the corner of her eye, Milada was sure she saw Kammy smirk. She said, “Edward—”

“You can call me Ed.”

“Edward,” she said again. “You may begin by addressing me as Miss Daranyi.” Still wearing her sunglasses, she looked directly at him. “Before I left New York, I asked Mr. Loveridge to prepare the SEC filings on Wylde Medical Informatics. I’d like to see them now.”

“Yes, Miss Daranyi.” Edward wheeled around and marched out of the room.

She said to her sister, “You have read the prospectus I sent you?”

“You couldn’t have bought a company in Seattle or San Francisco? The UV index got up to nine yesterday.”

“You tolerate sunlight better than I do. Be thankful this isn’t Phoenix.”

“I’m just saying.”

“The prospectus?”

Kammy shrugged. “Did you know the company started out as a chain of funeral homes? Love the irony.” She grinned, showing her sharp lateral incisors. “The informatics stuff looks solid. The long-term demand for genome-sequencing data is all upside as far as I can tell. Tie it into the genealogical data and you can do deCODE genetics one better. I figure that’s the market you’re aiming at.”

You can do deCODE genetics one better. You’re going to be running it.”

“Yeah, right.”

Milada sighed. “But it looks solid, you said.”

“The people in charge of the science seem to know what they’re doing. I think it’s the same Wylde guy who funded a wing at the hospital.” She glanced at her watch. “I’m going to be late.” She leaned over and pulled on her shoes.

Milada said, “I’m going to try and get you onsite. It’s what they’re really doing that matters. Not what they say they’re doing in press releases.”

Kammy’s head popped up. “What? Oh, sure. That’s cool.” She rose to her feet at the same time Edward returned with the folders.

“Is there anything else?” he asked stiffly.

“No. This should keep me busy for the time being.”

Kammy grabbed her slicker and hat and followed Edward out the door. She said in a loud-enough voice for Milada to hear, “Hey, don’t take it personally. When she travels, my big sister’s a bitch to everybody.

Milada shut her eyes. Hearing the door close, she opened her eyes and scanned through the folders. The filings for the current year-to-date were missing. But she’d had her fill of Edward. Instead she spent the rest of the morning answering correspondence, devoting her attention to anything from Jane, her broker Garrick Burke—the family was his only client—or her stepfather, Michael.

The conference room door opened. A young secretary said, “Ms. Daranyi? You’ve got a call from Ken Garff Mercedes.” Noticing the absence of a phone, she darted out of the room and rushed back in with a telephone, which she plugged in next to the network cable. “Line two,” she said.

Milada hit line two. “Milada Daranyi.”

“Ma’am?” said a male voice on the other end. “Oh, yes, Ms. Daranyi. The S500. We don’t have the tinting you ordered in stock. It should be here by Thursday, Friday at the latest.”

“That’s fine. Please call me when the car is ready.”

She gave them her cell phone number and hung up. The secretary again poked her head into the room. “Ms. Daranyi? Um, want to get some lunch? The Seagull Room.” She bobbed her head toward the ceiling. “It’s pretty good.” She spoke with a complete lack of conviction.

Milada said, “That sounds nice—” The sentence trailed off with an obvious question mark at the end.

“I’m Karen, Karen Talbot.”

“Well, Karen, shall we plan for twelve-thirty then?”

The secretary took a deep breath, showing more relief than she’d probably intended. She nodded and smiled and ducked out of the room.

previous Copyright by Eugene Woodbury. All rights reserved. next