I’m sorry!” Clara cried into the phone. “I’ll make it up to you.”
“How?” Thomas snapped. “Haven’t you ever heard that once a person’s or an institution’s reputation has been ruined, it’s very hard to regain?”
“My aunt regained her reputation!” Clara said triumphantly.
“What are you talking about?”
Clara sat in her chair. “A long time ago, when she was working in somebody’s house as a maid, some jewelry disappeared. The poor old lady who lost the jewelry insisted it must have been my Aunt Gladys who took it. So she got fired. Well, a few months later they found the jewelry in the house. Turns out the lady was a little dotty and kept forgetting where she hid things!”
“It’s not the same,” Thomas insisted.
“But it was terrible. Aunt Gladys lost a lot of weight in those months. It was only when she got her reputation back that she went back to eating like there was no tomorrow.”
“Clara, I am not calling to hear about your Aunt Gladys. I am calling to request that you do not talk to anyone about anything that goes on at the club. Reporters might try to reach you. Please don’t say another word. Now do you understand?”
“Yes, Thomas. I’m very sorry but I’ll make it up to you.”
“I know you’ve got the party tomorrow. I’ll come in and work for free!”
That’ll make a big difference, Thomas thought wryly. But Clara meant well. “All right, Clara. I’m sure we can use your help in the morning.”
“I’ll be there bright and early.”
The phone clicked in Thomas’s ear. He turned to Janey. “Let’s go eat.”
“You’d better call the members back first.”
Thomas winced and picked up the phone again. “Here goes nothing.”