Angel Falling Softly

Chapter 8

Money and a room of her own

Milada had not slept well since arriving in Utah. The sun came up no earlier than in New York, but the fine weave of the curtains made it impossible for her to escape the light. Better to have drapes of rough canvas. Had she planned on staying longer, she would have had them replaced forthwith.

No need for that now.

The house in Sandy turned out to be a champion idea. Both the house and the neighborhood were utterly prosaic. But the view was not.

The Wasatch Front, the ragged range of mountains running north to south along the eastern rim of the valley, was not the subdued Catskills. It strained meaning to use the word mountains to refer to those rolling hills. Here at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, the Wasatch Front was a skyscraping battlement of stone, as if giant slabs of granite had been punched upwards through the earth by some aggrieved Plutonian god.

The financial transactions proved simpler than she had expected. A dollar certainly went farther here than it did in Manhattan. The lady with the funny name recommended an interior decorator named Brittney. Milada gave Brittney a budget of four thousand dollars and told her to keep it simple.

“The bedroom set goes down in the basement,” she told her.

“You don’t want the upstairs rooms furnished?”

“I suppose you could put a couch and an armchair in the living room, for the off chance I am forced to entertain.” Milada did not think it likely. “And a kitchen table, a few chairs. Put the telly in the family room—is that what you call it? And a sofa and a coffee table.”

“Some plants perhaps? I know where you can get the most wonderful hanging macramé holders. Maybe some wall coverings?”

“Macramé? I am not enthusiastic about plants. Nothing that requires extra effort to keep alive.”

What Milada ended up with was subdued Western chic, sandy tans, light blues, and off-whites. A Remington knockoff in the foyer—she supposed she could hang her hat on it—and a couple of not-bad Monet prints on the walls. Considering the milieu, Milada would have recommended O’Keeffe, but Brittney must have been working under the assumption that people of East Coast extraction went for French impressionists over American abstract modernists. Though that didn’t explain the bucking bronco in the foyer.

Saturday evening she picked up the S500 at Ken Garff Mercedes. Steven was confused. “Will you need a limo on Monday?”

“As always. Driving for me is strictly an after-hours pleasure. Fetch me Monday morning at seven-thirty. You know the address.”

She settled into the Mercedes. Feeling in a very déclassé mood, she hit the search button on the radio until she landed on a country station at the high end of the FM dial. She turned up the volume and drove home to the suburbs with Tim McGraw booming out the windows.

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