What the Cat Saw
world should be permitted to defile the Tallgrass Prairie.” He spoke slowly, the words distinct and separate. He didn’t raise his voice but there was no mistaking his passion. He turned, moving swiftly for such a big man.
    Louise stared at the empty doorway, her face troubled.
    Nela had no idea what the Tallgrass Prairie meant. But whatever it was, wherever it was, Francis Garth was clearly furious.
    Louise took a deep breath. “Let’s make the rounds, Nela. I want to introduce you to everyone.”
    “I met several people coming in this morning, the director andthe assistant curator and Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Garth. I met Miss Webster Friday night at the apartment.” It wasn’t necessary to explain the circumstances.
    “Wonderful. We’ll run by all the offices so you’ll know where to take the mail and we can drop in and say hello to Peter and Grace.”
    As they reached the cross hall, Louise slowed. She looked puzzled. “Blythe’s door is closed. Usually everyone keeps their doors open. Webster wanted everyone to feel free and easy at Haklo.” She looked forlorn. “That’s the way it used to be.”
    Nela doubted Louise realized how revealing her statement was. So Haklo was not a happy place. Not now. Was Louise’s dismay because of the death of a colleague? Nela wished that Chloe had been more attuned to the place where she worked, but Chloe was Chloe, not self-absorbed in a selfish way but always focusing on fun. Nela knew her sister well enough to be sure that all kinds of emotions would have swirled around Chloe without leaving any impression.
    “But we still”—and now she was walking faster—“make such a wonderful difference in so many lives.”
    They reached the horseshoe-shaped reception desk in the rotunda.
    A plump woman with a round cheerful face beamed at them. “Hi, Louise. And you must be Nela. I’m Rosalind McNeill.” She eyed Nela with interest. “You sure don’t look like Chloe.” There was no hint of disparagement in the soft drawl, simply a fact mentioned in passing.
    Nela smiled at the receptionist. “That’s what everyone says.”
    Rosalind’s brown eyes sparkled. “Chloe’s very nice. You look nice, too.”
    Nela imagined that Rosalind always found her glass half full andthat her presence was as relaxing to those around her as a sunny day at the beach. In contrast, tightly coiled Louise exuded tension from the wrinkle of her brows to thin shoulders always slightly tensed.
    “I’m taking Nela around to introduce her. If the mail’s ready, we can deliver it.”
    Rosalind shook her head. “I’m about half done. Lots of calls for Miss Webster this morning. Something’s got the members of the grants committee riled. They called, bang, bang, bang, one after the other. I’ve heard happier voices at wakes. I don’t think Miss Webster was hearing love notes. If I had one, I’d toss in a bottle of bath salts with her letter delivery.” She grinned. “I’ve been rereading Victorian fiction. Ah, the days when gentle ladies fainted at the drop of a handkerchief to be revived by smelling salts. Did you know they’re really a mixture of ammonia and water? That would revive anybody. From the tone of the callers, I’m betting Miss Webster could use a sniff.”
    Louise looked ever more worried. “I’d better see what’s happened. Rosalind, you can finish sorting the mail, then give Nela the room numbers.” She turned to Nela. “I’m sorry you haven’t met some of the staff yet.”
    “Meeting new people has always been what I enjoy most about working on a newspaper. I’ll be fine.”
    Louise gave her a quick smile, which was replaced almost immediately by a furrow of worry as she turned and hurried toward the trustee’s office.
    Rosalind’s glance was admiring. “Chloe said you were a reporter. That must be exciting.”
    “It can be. I’m looking for a job right now.” She refused to be defensive. Everybody knew somebody who’d lost a job. She didn’tmind

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