Chapter 15: Sifting & Scything
The next morning, I awoke to the sound of Kaitlyn’s mother ordering breakfast from room service. She ordered it like the master of a big family kitchen, which she had in fact been for many years. She was utterly in her element now. If only the person on the other end of the line knew how she was dressed. Or not dressed, as it were.
She hung up the phone and explained to me, “I wasn’t impressed with the free breakfast down in the lobby yesterday, so I decided to get something better. Also, I’d like to stay naked a while longer.” She smiled at me.
“I am happy to see you so. You really are quite lovely, Mary,” I complimented. She gave me a little graceful bow, so I went on, “I especially liked seeing your reaction to our show last night. What you did… Well, it kind of felt like the most honest sort of applause, the highest level of approval. It moved me, Mrs. Gutierrez.”
“Awww, you’re so sweet, Davie.”
“So, your husband isn’t going to have any problem with this? Will you tell him?”
“Of course I will. We agreed many many years ago to be open and honest with each other, hiding things only when we honestly felt it was best for the marriage. I will tell him that I observed our daughter and her fiancé expressing love at the deepest level, and that I believe to my core that we should not stand in the way of this marriage. I will tell him in no uncertain terms that we will support your union so long as that love remains.”
This was certainly a creative interpretation of “open and honest,” I thought, but I could see the sense in it. Kaitlyn and I would have to discuss it, to see if we’d come to a similar interpretation. I just said, “Well, thank you. I did not do anything yesterday with the intent to hurt Ramón. It was all love.”
“I know, dearie, I know,” Mary told me. “Now nudge my lazybones daughter awake, will you?”
I did as instructed, telling her about the imminent arrival of breakfast, and she sleepily said, “Oooh, let me get it!”
Then she crawled out of bed, went over to where we left the lingerie store bags yesterday, and pulled out the pink-accented white underwear set we’d bought. She slipped that on, then bent to pull the sexy robe out of the bag and put that on, too. She had that over one arm and was swinging it around herself to belt it when a knock came at the door. “Get in bed, you two!” she said sharply to us.
We did as she bade, her mother barely covering her areolæ with the top sheet, feigning interest in her book, me sitting up in bed with the bedding around my waist.
Kaitlyn led a goggle-eyed young man into the room, his eyes carefully watching the front of the cart to make sure it didn’t bump into anything. Like Kaitlyn’s panty-clad arse. He was definitely careful to keep an eye on that. So considerate, that boy.
My fiancée bade him wheel the cart over by the small round table in the corner of the room while Kaitlyn walked over to her purse, down at the bottom of the closet, and squatted down to get a tip out, the kid’s eyes were darting back and forth between her curvy near-fetal profile and her mother’s display. Kaitlyn rose smoothly into a graceful stand and handed the kid a tip I judged to be a little light, but I thought he wouldn’t be upset by the exchange.
Apparently her mother agreed, because she let the top sheet slip a bit, giving the kid two more tips. He stared rather too long to be mere curiosity, then tore his gaze away, Mary continuing to feign reading.
The kid stammered his thanks to the two women, looked at me nervously, and scampered.
Shortly after the door closed, we all busted out laughing. “That was awesome!” Kaitlyn pushed out past her mirth. “You are so bad, mother!”
“What? I’m just sitting here reading,” Mary said innocently.
“Well, breakfast is served,” she said, still chuckling.
Mary and I got out of bed, both still nude from last night, and we joined Kaitlyn at the table, she continuing to wear her new lingerie.
“I can’t decide if I prefer to see you that way in the morning or nude, Kaitlyn,” I said.
“Shall I take it off?”
“No,” I said, “please enjoy your new things. As I said, I’m enjoying it, too.”
“What about your fixation on plain white cotton underthings?” she teased.
“I still love those, but these are a nice treat.”
“What is this white cotton fixation?” her mother jumped in.
“Davie told me once that he likes my plain underwear. He was rather eloquent about it, actually.”
I shrugged. “It’s true, Mary. It’s part of why I love her. She’s neither frivolous nor pretentious. Her everyday underwear says ‘practical but beautiful’ to me. It’s a perfect distillation of Kaitlyn, in my mind.”
Mary put in, “I think she’s practical and beautiful, too.”
Kaitlyn’s eyes teared up a bit at that.
I waited for her to blink them away, then I waved to indicate her new outfit. “This is fun and nice, but to dress up like this everyday? Well, I suppose it’d be like going to Disneyland every day.”
“Yes,” Kaitlyn said mischievously. She held her hands over her breasts, saying, “Here’s the teacup ride, and down below is where the log flume crashes inevitably down the hill to a final explosive wet conclusion, often multiple times a day!”
Mary and I began laughing at this new invention.
“Yes, I do enjoy the rides in Kaitland,” I said, putting my hand over hers, then lifted it to my lips and kissed it. “So, we’ve covered Fantasyland and Frontierland… What do we have waiting in Tomorrowland, Kaitlyn?”
“I need a shower!” her mother exclaimed, apparently deciding to cut us off before we got too risqué. Then she went on in a quiet tone, “I, um, got a little messy last night.”
“Gloriously so,” I agreed, and scooted my chair around to let her squeeze past in the cramped hotel room.
Once Kaitlyn’s mother had closed the bathroom door behind her, I repeated my question, now curious, “So what do we have in Tomorrowland?”
“Isn’t that where the submarine ride is? The one with the long, hard shaft of steel slipping gracefully through the wetness…” Kaitlyn answered with a smirk.
“Hmmm… You know, I think we can do it underwater. Remember I told you about my magical scuba trick?”
“Yeah,” she said. “You still haven’t shown me that one.”
“We’ll get to it,” I promised. “Here in Todayland, we need to get your mother out of the room while we sort through yesterday’s haul. How about you suggest that she go visit friends for the morning? Let her borrow the car?”
“All right, sounds good,” she said. “I’ll go hang out the Do Not Disturb sign.” She came back to the table laughing a bit under her breath. “I got caught! Someone got an eyeful of my new outfit!”
“He or she?”
“Both! And they liked it!”
“I’m glad. I like it, too.”
We got Mary out of the room as planned and dove into last night’s take. It was quite a mess, not an organized pull, so it took us quite a while to find the most useful documents for our purposes. You wouldn’t believe how many memos we found about office supplies alone.
“I wonder if we’ll find a requisition form for red tape in here somewhere?” I commented at one point.
“That’s Form 2423B part 4, requiring the pre-acquisition of green tape and the counter-signatures of your two immediate superiors,” answered Kaitlyn quickly, speaking from personal experience with the largest bureaucracy in the land.
I laughed, and we continued our work sifting through the trove, mining for nuggets. The ironic comparison wasn’t lost on me.
It took us a few hours, but we eventually gathered together a set of documents that the local news organizations would eat right up.
Mary came back for lunch, at which point Kaitlyn and I finally dressed for the day. Then we went out, taking the laptop with us. We got a corner table at the restaurant and proceeded to show Mary what we’d gathered.
Kaitlyn was taking the lead. “Now, never mind how we got these documents. We’re not going to tell you, and you aren’t going to ask, all right?” Her mother nodded soberly. “We want you to take these documents to a news organization somewhere in the city, your choice. Newspaper, TV channel, AM radio station, whatever. Get someone interested in the story and explain what they’re trying to do to your farm. Offer it under condition of anonymity only. Get them to understand that they’re pushing farmers off their land to make Moab into a strip mining town.”
Mary agreed, so Kaitlyn handed her a USB key, this one from my own bag, not the one she’d swiped from JRE, which I’d done a secure erase on before copying the documents to it. I didn’t want a clever reporter digging around in the slack space on the drive, finding clues about me from files I’d previously stored on it.
After lunch, Mary left again, taking the evidence of JRE’s underhanded business tactics with her, leaving us the car keys, saying she could get where she wanted to go by bus and light train.
Kaitlyn and I went online and started planning what to do with the rest of our week off, now that all of the important errands were completed.
I told Kaitlyn, “We need to get out of the hotel before this news breaks. I don’t want to be downtown when the news trucks start roaming around JRE with camera gear. Someone might recognize you. How about we go camping near the Great Salt Lake and send your mother off to visit more friends locally?”
“How will we do the transportation?” Kaitlyn asked. “Most of her friends are out in the suburbs, which are not well networked with public transport. The train lines go out there, but only to big car parks where commuters get on and take the train in and out of the city. It’s tough to get around in the suburbs without a car.”
“I was thinking that your mom would drop us off near the edge of the city, and we’d take the bikes out into the countryside while she went off with the car.”
We’d transferred my bike rack to Kaitlyn’s Subaru Outback, our bikes cable-locked to the rack, the cable looping through both the wheels and the frames to reduce the chance of someone removing a few choice bike parts once they realized they couldn’t take the whole bike. All of our bike bags were safely locked in the back cargo area of the car.
“That sounds nice, Davie. We’ll have to go shopping for supplies.”
We’d brought our reusable camping supplies with us, but we hadn’t packed any camping food and other consumables, so we raided a nearby camping store, getting back to the hotel just before Mary.
“Great news!” Kaitlyn’s mother said as she walked in, a shopping bag in one hand, the other raised in a fist of triumph. “We have struck a great blow for the preservation of the Gutierrez farm, and for Moab generally!”
Kaitlyn and I rose, hugged her, and congratulated her on getting a reporter interested in the story. Being old-school, she’d chosen to go to a newspaper.
“There’s a steak house about a quarter mile away; I saw it as we drove in. How about I call and reserve a table, and we can walk down there for dinner?”
We agreed on the plan and had a wonderful time.