Leddy sat across from Penny Lane in the Boston Public Library’s Johnson Building. Leddy always thought she and Penny’d look like a tower salt&pepper shakers if Penny could get on her shoulders. Leddy, stocky and dark like her father, Penny thin and fair like her father if he didn’t get to his Bermuda home for a weekend.
Out the window she watched firetrucks and ambulance race towards the waterfront until people crowded around her and blocked the view. She switched her tablet from screen to dVids, a gift from Penny’s father, and guided her drone with a specialized pen she designed inside MIT’s Media Lab as part of the Future Entrepreneurs Club. She couldn’t stop actionable ideas from coming to her. Her advisors wondered if she were adopted. Grad students and professors attempted to copy her designs. Penny’s father, Briggs, told Penny to keep an eye on her and bring any things she came up with to him.
Briggs had Penny and Leddy to lunch at least once a week. He ate little, a salad if anything and rarely more, bottled water on the side, made sure Leddy ate like a queen, and probed her about anything Penny brought to his attention, but gently, conversationally, so she wouldn’t catch on.
Leddy thought him a playable fool. He could get her hands on tech even her Media Lab buds knew nothing about and Leddy always let him think something profitable would come of it.
But gently, conversationally, so he wouldn’t catch on. After their third lunch she started picking at her food.
She’d order everything and anything, then have it boxed up to go and pass it around when she got back to the lab.
A lot of those students were just getting by.
And Leddy liked to pay it forward when she could.
She tapped Penny’s tablet. “People will see what’s on your screen.”
Penny laughed. “I’m going inside. I’ll be able to sell this, create a bidding war. We’re the first on the scene.”
“You take too many chances.”
Penny kept her tablet active. “You don’t take enough. What are you doing?”
“Watching vehicular and foot traffic.”
“Do you listen to yourself? You sound like your father.”
“You sound like yours.”
“Yeah? How ’bout you give those dVids back. Briggs won’t mind.”