The General spent the same day adjusting his attitude. He prided himself for being the kind of leader that encouraged thought among those he led. He asked for opinions and used good suggestions. That was the nature of his work. He understood his presence could fill a room and overpower some people but he fought against it. His business was to seek out answers and these came from where ever he could find them. David Randolph had caused him to think. When Sally had taken off, before he had a chance to invite her into the fold, he had panicked. Sally was a prize too big to loose like that. He knew if he had had the chance he would have won her over. David Randolph’s view was entirely different. David saw a chance to win her over not with conversation but by planting good caring feelings into the answers Sally might be getting. That became the goal of the day and the plan for days to come. The General had never had any plans to harm Sally in any way but he had shifted into an almost predator like pursuit and he was sure she had reacted to that pursuit. Changing the feelings Sally came across could not be faked. The General had to genuinely care for and want the best for Sally. It wasn’t an impossible task. He had liked her the first time they spoke on the phone before he started to understand the depth of her gift. He would need to suppress his zeal to possess her talent. He took the advice David Randolph had given and started with securing the fourth story apartment she had rented in town. His plan had been simply to pay the rent but he changed his mind when the owner mentioned the apartment was still in the condition she had left it. It had not been rented or even prepared for a new occupant. The General paid the back rent and several months forward.
“That’s the key. But I’ll need it back. Get a copy made if you plan to come back. You paid the rent. I figured most of that was going to be a loss. We were making plans to have someone come in and haul everything off which we don’t make anything off of. As far as I’m concerned everything in there belongs to you now,” The General thought for a second holding the key in his hand.
“No,” he said. “Everything in there belongs to Sally. The day she comes back she can walk right in like she was never gone. I’m not going to disturb anything in the room. I just want to go up and make sure everything is all right.” It was true The General was planting seeds for Sally’s answers to find but he also meant every word he had said to the building’s owner. He used the steps to the fourth floor; he was spending way too much time behind his desk. He was winded when he reached her door. He walked into the small apartment. He left everything as he found it; he opened no drawers, read no personal papers and kept all his investigative skills at bay. He stood where she would stand and looked out at the street below. He looked into the bathroom mirror she must have used every morning and took the time to view everything she had attached to the wall. When he left Sally’s home he knew none of Sally’s secrets, he knew nothing she would not freely share. As he walked down the steps to the street below he felt he knew her better and he felt more attached and more protective. His next two stops would be not far away and both would be in the same downtown building. He would secure her office and talk to Toby’s employer, the owner of the coffee shop.