FatLand: The Early Days – 23

Their eyes all turned toward Charla as she walked in.

“Come sit down,” Angela said. “You look gorgeous.”

“Gorgeous and a sight for sore eyes,” Bill said. “Especially after all those anorexics. Man, if you could see..it reminded me of why we’re creating this place.”

He touched Charla’s arm, then took her hand. “Would it be considered too informal if you were to sit by me?” he said. “It’s just so good to touch you after those days in Bonesville.”

“Bonesville,” Evan said. “Good name.”

“I like it,” Ronnie agreed. “So what did you find out, Bill?”

Brenton said, “Let him breathe, for goodness sake.”

Bill took a sip of hot mint tea, handed him by Angela, then said, “Okay, this is how it goes. Stark basically wants to set up an empire of weight-loss related establishments on this side of the Mississippi.  He already has quite a few on the other side and wants to expand them. But- ” he paused to swallow another sip of mint tea, “now here’s the kicker.  He’s in love with a beautiful woman of size.”

“So why in heaven’s or hell’s name does he want to go setting up weight loss establishments?” Angela asked.

“Because she rejected him.”

“And why did she do that?” Charla asked. “This is becoming interesting.”

“Because he married someone else.”

“Er, that seems a valid reason to me,” Angela said.

“Me, too,” Ronnie said, pressing Evan’s hand hard.

“Not to Stark, evidently,” Bill said. “He wants what he wants when he wants it.”

“I like this lady already,” Angela said. “What’s her name?”

“Margaret,” Bill said. “And guess what? She may be coming here soon.”

“Wow,” Charla said. “Our own romantic and wronged heroine.”

“Not as a heroine,” Bill said. “She wants to start a newspaper here.”

“Our own newspaper,” Garren said. “Now we’re official.”

“But guess who wants to fund it?”

“No,” Charla said. “Don’t tell me that- ”

“Yep,” Bill said. “You get an extra cranberry orange muffin.” He winked at Angela. “Our wonderful Winston.”

“Is that part of what he meant by infrastructure?” Brenton said. “It wasn’t specified in the contract.”

“No,” Bill agreed. “It sure wasn’t. I don’t think Win wants us to know that he’s funding this one.”

“So we’re supposed to pretend that we don’t know?” Angela said. “Does Margaret know?”

“Not only does she know,” Bill said. “But she’s alerady said no to him on this. Says she wants to go ahead with the paper, but not with his help.”

“I like her more and more,” Angela said. “Is she coming soon?”

“It appears that way,” Bill said. “She said a couple of months to get everything in order.”

“Should we make it official?” Brenton asked. “Lady journalist To Start First Fatland Newspaper?”

“We’ll ask her,” Bill said. 

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