"We need to talk," It was Herbert Seymore who said it from his office doorway.
I walked past him as he held the door. He held it so that he could close the door behind me. I expected that Mary had told him about out agreement, so I was ready to defend myself. I was also ready to look for a new job.
"I got a call from Mr. Edward's attorney. He is screaming foul."
"Ah well, I didn't really think I would have any luck going about it the same way everyone else had."
"You wouldn't have," Herbert agreed. "The bastard has been using the community property as collateral for his floor plan." I knew what floor plan was, so I just nodded. He didn't have to explain that it was the bank loan to cover the short term financing of the cars he had on his lot. No dealer had enough money to buy those cars. Almost all cars on a sales lot are financed to the hilt, plus some extra collateral as well.
"What I wanted to say was that your serving that paper was an unexpected bonus. I appreciate you doing it, you certainly didn't have to."
"Oh, I need to feel that I am paying my own way. This sitting around with my finger up my ass, just isn't my style."
"I know but maybe it won't be much longer. Mary called a therapist I know, he is also an assistant Church pastor, so I trust him."
"Herbert I have to tell you something. You probably aren't going to like it." I figured better than he hear from me rather than an office secretary.
"Mary told me, I was pissed at first, but I have a feeling you know what you are doing."
"Hell, I never know what I'm doing, but I'm planning to help her not hurt her. I want you to believe that."
"Oh I do or I would have you killed." He might have treated it as a Joke but I knew better. He had surely come into contact with people, who could and would do it without a moments hesitation.
Much later that evening, back in Carthage, I explained to Molly that I might not be around at all on weekdays for a while. I also informed her that I would be home on weekends. I told her so that she wouldn't worry about me or try to take advantage of the situation. I told her about coming home on the weekends even before I told Mary. She might or might not have figured out that it wasn't a livein bodyguard arrangement. I expected that she would on Friday afternoon when I didn't show up at her place after work. I knew that would be cruel so i planned to tell her in as nice a way as I could. The arrangement had been so that I would be in the office at 9AM. Being there at nine didn't require me to stay at the condo on Friday or Saturday nights.
I packed enough clothes for the rest of the week, then off I went to Williams. The little GPS locator aimed me right to Mary's Condominium. Those things were a lot of fun, but I didn't travel enough to make it really worthwhile.
My first evening with Mary was awkward. Neither of us really knew how to act, since we had not fully defined our relationship or our roles in it. Was she a hostess, or a roommate? Was I a bodyguard, or friend? Were we going to be more than friends? Definitely not more than friends, but she might not know that. I was just walking on eggs.
"So have you found us a place to walk tomorrow?" I asked it over my salad and steak. At home it would have been salads and hamburger patty.
'There is a trail that runs around the complex. It goes through the trees along the perimeter." she said.
"That is a good use of the buffer space," I commented, Since the complex had to screen the itself from the neighboring subdivision, the hiking/biking trail turned it from wasted space to a selling feature of the complex. "So how far is it around the complex?'
"I don't have any idea," she admitted.
"Well I have a pedometer, I can measure it in the morning. At least as far as you can make it on the first day." I laughed when she stuck out her tongue at me.
After dinner she put the dishes in the dishwasher while I moved to the living room. I turned on the 24hour news channel to see what was going on in the world. The news was all bad as I expected. Since I didn't own a laptop, I had to suffer with cable TV and conversation. I just am not good with conversation.
About eight I found a movie to watch on the cable station from Atlanta. While I began watching it Mary left the room. "Do you mind me watching this? I mean is there something you usually watch?"
"No, you go right ahead. I just have to get out of these work clothes."
That scared the hell out of me. I felt much better when she came back in a jogging suit. it was a tailored suit and it showed off her curves much better than any exercise outfit I had ever seen it also was thick enough not to be really sexy, except in her case it should have been called a joggling suit for obvious reasons. I didn't want to tell her to go get dressed so I ignored the movement inside her top as much as possible. I figured that mentioning it would been very bad form. She seemed to be smart enough to realize the effect that her outfit had on people in general. i certainly was not immune.
The suit almost hid the fact that she needed to drop a few pounds. She had most likely already dropped some during her hospital stay. I guessed that since the suit was a little loose at the hips. Still there were a few extra pounds here and there on her frame. I certainly had no room to talk, I had at least twice and probably a lot more that I needed to lose. So we did have something in common after all. I thought it, but said nothing.
Mary had to be at least in the her early thirties, maybe a little more. She had wrinkles but not very deep ones, so maybe it was early thirties. She was a blonde but I doubted seriously that it was natural. Her eyes were too dark and her father had very dark hair as well. Still it was an excellent job. It should have been, I'm sure Mary Seymore had plenty of income. The condo was modest in size but it was very well decorated.
Since I had removed the pistol, when I dropped my suitcase, I was already as comfortable as I would get in public. I enjoyed the movie and the company. I had been alone since my divorce, so having a woman around was both a treat, and an annoyance. Annoyance in that I had to make conversation, and a treat in that I had someone with whom to share my thoughts. Everything seemed to be a two edged sword.
I left her awake when I went to bed. I was grateful that I had no midnight visitors. Neither Mary, not dreams of the people I had killed, visited me that night. Maybe it was just as she said, and there was no Messiah feelings after all.