As happy as Milada was with her Ozzie and Harriet accommodations, it occurred to her that the Mormons might take some getting used to. Early on in the project, Jane had prepared a fact sheet on the state’s demographics and overall fiscal health. It alone convinced Milada that they should consider acquisitions of several high-tech firms she’d been following on the NASDAQ small cap index.
What Jane hadn’t mentioned was that Salt Lake City proper was approximately fifty percent Mormon. Cottonwood Estates, Milada was beginning to suspect, boasted a higher-than-average concentration.
Two more were now arriving. Late thirties or early forties, she guessed. The man still preserved some of the athletic slenderness of his youth. His wife was attractively dressed in peach, a bright blue sash tied around her waist, tight enough to show her figure.
Milada observed them from her comfortable perch in the wicker chair, standing only when they climbed the steps to the porch. “Milada Daranyi?” said the man. He extended his hand. “I’m Bishop Forsythe. This is my wife, Rachel.”
Milada shook the woman’s hand as well. She said to the bishop, “You don’t wear a collar?”
It took him a second to parse the statement. He said pleasantly, “The Mormon church is run by a lay priesthood at the local level.” He thumbed the lapels of his jacket. “Everyday business attire.”
“Not every day.” His wife smiled.
“And when you are not being a bishop?”
He handed her a business card. Milada motioned to them, “Please.” They sat on the bench against the porch railing. She returned to the chair and examined the business card. “Zions Bank?” she said, a touch a surprise in her voice. So you have a real job then? the question meant. “You must be kept busy, running a church congregation at the same time.”
His wife laughed, “You can say that again. I’m counting the days.”
Milada decided at once that she liked her. She seemed determined not to be just another desperate housewife. If that was why he married her, then that made him a smart man as well. “Then it is a temporary position?”
“Five years on average.”
The bishop’s wife asked, “And what brings you to Salt Lake, Milada?”
“I run a capital management fund. We’re exploring investments in the area.”
They both nodded.
After a little more small talk, the bishop and his wife got to their feet. “Well, we’d better get going.”
“Oh,” the bishop’s wife said, remembering something at the last minute. “Milada, we’re having a few friends over tomorrow night. It’d be nice if you could join us. It’ll be an informal affair. How do you feel about barbecued chicken?”
“I feel fine about it.”
“If you’re not busy, why don’t you come by around seven? We’re up the street a block and around the corner, 445 Willow Way.”
Milada said, “I assume this will be a backyard affair. May I ask what direction your backyard faces?”
Rachel did not understand the relevance of the question. Then her husband said, “East. The backyard faces east.”
“Very well,” Milada said pleasantly. “I shall look forward to it.”