2 • Deeper Matters

Lou looked around the room. Ten or so chairs were arranged in a U shape. Lou sat in the first of these. Jenny’s father and mother were sitting across from him. The mother’s face was drawn tight with worry. Blotchy red patches covered the skin on her neck and stretched across her face. The father was staring vacantly at the ground.

Behind them, Elizabeth Wingfield (a bit overdressed, Lou thought, in a chic business suit) was helping herself to a cup of tea at the bar against the far wall of the room.

Meanwhile, Pettis Murray, the fellow from Dallas, was taking his seat about halfway around the semicircle to Lou’s right. He seemed pretty sharp to Lou, with the air of an executive—head high, jaw set, guarded.

The couple just ...

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