Maximilian had spent a whole day setting up and installing his computer and starting to develop a concept sheet for his own business.
He had always wanted to do something useful with his talent for creating new and unusual elements and getting optimized results from otherwise forgotten details. Doing the ordinary as it had always been, never had held his interest or had been enough for him. He wanted to expand and constantly was searching for more.
The companies he had worked for had not had any use for his unconventional ideas. Their focus had been flashy and impressive business and hotel buildings.
His ideas to win energy while at the same time making living in the building as comfortable and healthy as possible, had not found their interest, as it had in no way been flashy.
Now he planned to develop his idea further to use wind energy of the surrounding eco-system of the house without disturbing the use and functionality of the building. For some parts of his idea he would need a company as a partner to build certain technical components he had designed. But as he could prove the validity of his idea by the effectiveness of his own house, he did not think that would be a problem.
All his energy had gone into creating the prototype for his idea while at the same time renovating the building according to the historic requirements. So he had not had any time to choose or even buy any kind of furniture. The computer now stood on the floor and he sat in front of it, commenting photos and screenshots of his energy report for a presentation handout he wanted to send to potential partner companies.
In the evening he tried to call Ellie to ask her, if she had time for lunch or dinner with him, but he could not get through as the line of her mobile phone was unavailable. She did not have any other number on her business card she had given him, so he decided to try it again the next day.
|Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source: RANet.com)|
Maximilian, resigned to his fate as the ‘celebrity of the day’, gave in and expected to meet the crowd of journalists at his door. But instead, de Solace awaited him, with an armful of cloths.
“Come on, let me in. The load is heavy.” With this words de Solace squeezed his bundle and himself through the door without waiting for Max to make place.
“Good morning”, Max answered belatedly. “What are you doing here so early in the morning? – I had expected an impatient journalist, but you?
“Oh no! – The journalists are still asleep. This is the reason, why I am here so early. – We want to avoid, that someone sees you in such an abomination again. – No, no, seulement l’exquisite...”
De Solace went into the living room, but finding no furniture where he could place his load, he went back and Max, following him from the door, nearly crashed into him.
Max gestured towards his bedroom upstairs. This was the only room, except the kitchen, where the necessary furniture was in place.
De Solace refused to let him help with carrying his burden and stumbled up the steps towards the bedroom. There he placed all the cloths on the bed, carefully draping each single one still covered in dust wraps.
Next to the bed, Max had placed all the unopened letters which had arrived yesterday and were silent reminders, of how fast news travelled in a small town, even without the newspaper report.
De Solace’s gaze immediately was glued to the heap and he took them up without asking.
With astonished eyes, he reverently murmured: “An invitation to the Circlers’ annual garden party. I am trying for years to get one.”
How de Solace could tell without opening the letter, Max had no idea. He had not found the heavy letter the least interesting.
De Solace went through all the other letters and neatly placed them in three piles. The smallest one he took up and went back to the bed with all the clothes still in their covers.
Max, who did not care for all the unknown and unrequested mail, observed de Solace with astonishment. Without interrupting him, he saw, as he placed each card on one of the sacks, sometimes murmuring something and then reorganizing the cards. After a while he seemed content with his order and with a content smile, as if he just had mastered a question of utter life-importance, he looked up.
“Now we can start to present you in society.”
Max, with a disbelieving grimace, scratched his head.
De Solace was not to be distracted by that.
“First things first”, he continued. “The Circlers’ party is tomorrow, Saturday afternoon. This is the most important event of all, so – grand decor. All eyes will be on you.”
Wonderingly he added: “How they heard about you so fast, but ... small city...”
|Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source: RANet.com)|
In the afternoon, Max mailed his exposé, he had developed the day before, to a company he thought would be ideal to produce his invention. Their record and reputation showed that they were able to do developments and productions of an equivalent scale.
Content with his results, he phoned Ellie again, but this time, the phone was on voice mail. He left a short message, saying, that he had very much enjoyed the lunch together and would love to see her again. He left his number and time of his call and hung up. He would try it again later. Was it possible to miss someone, one had only met for about an hour?
Maximilian went outside to bring in the mail, when he recognized, next to a plastic sack full of letters, a group of journalists.
They held his mail hostage and when he wanted to retrieve his letters, he had to confront them and give them sufficient opportunity to take their photos. Very clever idea, he thought, this way they would catch him in any case.
Max, now resigned into his fate as ‘top story of the day’, put on a smile and invited them in to have a cup of warm tea, as it was, though a warm summer day, raining outside.
He answered only the question he liked. The others he just ignored as if he had not heard, which was easy in the bulk of journalists trying to outsmart each other.
One of them commented on his empty house and Max honestly answered, that he had not had time to decorate it properly.
When they left half an hour later, Max was relieved and thought that had been a clever idea to invite them in and get them off his heals in one bulk.
But an hour later, just as he was trying to ring Ellie again, he had to admit defeat, when another group arrived at his doorstep. This time they came with a famous interior designer in tow.
Before he could utter, that he did not want them in or had not ordered any interior design done, they pushed him out of their way with the words:
“Attention, the equipment is very expensive.”
Careful not to destroy anything he could not afford to replace, he reluctantly gave way.
The interior designer already took the measures of the room, when Maximilian could get past the camera team and entered his own house again.
They were already filming the work of the designer, who had his own show on TV.
“I know you, are you not Paul Reverue, the designer of ‘Before and After’?” Maximilian suddenly realised, where he had seen this man before.
“Yes, indeed. Go aside and do not disturb me here. We must get on with it.”
“Ahem. Mr. Reverue, this is my house.”
Maximilian stood his ground and had no intention to let journalists and self imposed helpers run over him again.
De Solace was nosy and helpful at the same time, but a whole TV-team taking full possession of his house was too much.
“Oh, gosh, who spoke to you about the details?” Reverue asked haughtily, as if angry to have to bother with such minor details himself.
“What details? Nobody has spoken to me at all about this siege of my house.”
“Then it is quite understandable, Sir. – We are preparing a TV show with the best interior design for ‘rich living’ and journalist Marco di Luigi will do a major report about your house in the next edition of the ‘Vogue’.”
“I do not intend to decorate or re-decorate my house just yet. – I do not want to spend the money.”
“Oh, did I forget to mention, that all expenses for the interior decoration are taken care of by my TV-shows budget. – How careless of me to forget.”
With this words, Reverue had lost all interest in the discussion and impatiently looked around, as if to say ‘Come on, say yes. I want to get on with it.’
Maximilian had not to think twice. With his plans for the business project he would not have money to decorate the house for quite some time to come.
“Yes, go on with it. By the way, I admire your show.”
In his mind he added, ‘but not your way of behaviour and haughtiness’.
Maximilian observed the doings of Reverue, but after a while it became boring to hear him utter commands he could not make sense of and he left to drink a cup of coffee together with some members of the camera team. He was glad, that the kitchen was the only place where the previous furniture had still been intact and had been useable. It was a rather outdated, but fortunately fully equipped and comfortable kitchen.
Only two hours later, the first vans with furniture, design elements, colour, paint, painters, carpenters and enormous amounts of sample books of any kind arrived. Reverue, without ever making a pause, chose, instructed the helpers, measured, guided, corrected and started all over again.
Maximilian soon saw, where his forte lay, obviously not in the personal contact with people, but in designing and making the best of whatever space he could get hold of.
After half a day even he could see, that his house would turn out a gem and would be well worth to be reviewed in the ‘Vogue’.
Maximilian was quite surprised, how money could generate money in no time at all. The ‘gold card’ already had struck pure gold without even using the card, except for the bill in the restaurant with Ellie. This thought brought him back to Ellie and he tried again to reach her and left another voicemail after her already familiar sounding signal.
The next day, Maximilian was glad, that de Solace came again with changed cloths.
The amount of invitations and letters appealing for donations had reached immense proportions. Maximilian had not known where to place them and had loaded them into a washing trough he normally used to collect rain water.
De Solace made the last adjustments to his formal frock for his appearance at today’s garden party of the Circlers. His work was even more friendly and joyful, as Maximilian had invited him to accompany him to the garden party, as the invitation had been open to bring company, not only a partner, along.
So while drinking some coffee, they friendly chatted about business, the worth of money and the impression of it and the folly of the press. They went through the large amount of letters and Maximilian was glad, that he had not to cope with the society and publicity alone. The tips of de Solace guaranteed that he would not make a complete fool of himself while meeting the most influential business men of town.
He held some hope that he would even get a chance to meet the manager of Faraday Electronics there, the company he wanted to win for his revolutionary business plans.
The weather was bright and exactly right for such a great event as the garden party of the year. The location, as every year, was the vast park area around the meeting hall – or better villa – of the Circlers.
Maximilian would have arrived by public transportation as usual, but de Solace had vehemently protested and even had been against the use of a taxi. He had ordered a limousine to bring them just in time, ‘no minute too early - no minute too late’.
“Timing is of utter importance to give the right impression and to portray the own worth. – Too early would mean, we have time to spare, too late would say, we do not respect the worth and value of the invitation.”
Maximilian, who had been raised to be punctual, but had never known, what unspoken language it had, was once again glad to have an advisor at his side to steer him through all this vagaries of society.
When they entered the vast park area splattered with diverse tents and booths and various sitting areas, restaurants and a speaker’s podium, they were immediately surrounded by helpers.
One gave them the plan for the area, another one handed them an agenda for the event and another one lead them off to receive a glass of champagne as a welcome greeting.
The third helper just had left them, when a fourth arrived to introduce them to members of the Circlers’ society and the incognito multi-millionaire and his companion were busily handed round.
|Edited - R.Armitage as Max (Source: RANet.com)|
The first name which immediately caught his attention was Conrad Carrington, honorary ambassador and distinguished senior member of the Circlers, who would speak about business ethics in our time and would lead over to the following tombola.
Was he in any way related to Ellie? Maximilian had repeated his calls, but had not gotten any response so far. He even dreamed about her and wanted to see her again. He did not know why she, after such short acquaintance, affected him so much, but he eagerly wanted to see her again. If she would have been available, he had wanted to ask her to accompany him to this garden party. He knew that one of his motives was that he wanted to show the world that she was his woman.
Maximilian and in his company de Solace were handed from important politician, to rich business owners, to TV stars, and after a while the faces swam in front of Max’ eyes. But everybody was eager to make the acquaintance of the important ‘guest’ of town.
Max had no idea, why he was handled as ‘visitor of the town’, but it allowed him to answer the questions, if he intended to stay in town for a while, honestly with ‘Yes’. Most of the conversations did not develop any further, so after a while Max gave up to correct the wrong notion. The preconceived impressions people had of him, remained heavily in place.
When the speech of Conrad Carrington started, Maximilian was relieved to escape the shallow conversations and politely listened to Carrington. His attitude towards continuity as well as responsibility impressed him. Max’s posture, which allowed him to see over most of the heads of present listeners made it easy for him to scan the rows and he soon came to the seated guests to search for familiar faces. He knew exactly, which face he hoped to detect. He still had not given up on finding Ellie here, and indeed, after a while he spotted her face in the first row of listeners.
He left the side of de Solace to get closer to her and slowly made his way to the front of the assembly. The possibility of seeing Ellie again had his total attention so that he was completely unaware, that Mr. Carrington in the meantime had finished his speech and had introduced the following tombola to aid orphans suffering the results of the recent earth quake.
The first piece at auction was an ugly, completely deformed vase, nobody was eager to acquire, so the participation started very slowly. The auctioneer tried to get more attention to the exceptional piece and made big price leaps to get some money for the good cause.
Maximilian now had clear eyesight of Ellie, sitting in the first row, and wanted to get her to look at him, as he had no way of reaching her through all the bystanders around him.
He made signs to get her attention, but – during an auction – he not only got her attention, but the attention of all assembled, including that of the auctioneer, who gladly took his signs for a bid.
As nobody really had an interest in the ugly porcelain thing, the auctioneer confirmed the last bid. “Mr. Delarmy, what a generous gesture to support our good cause and what a great example to our society you are.”
De Solace, who, from a distance had seen the unfolding of the whole debacle, rushed to Max’ side, who still had not taken any notice of the auction and cautioned Max, who suddenly became aware, that the whole attention of all present was directed towards him.
De Solace whispered: “You have made a bid for this abomination of a destroyed piece of clay. – Keep face, nod. Don’t refuse now. You will only lose face...”
Maximilian stared at de Solace: “What are you talking about?” But looking up, Maximilian recognized that all faces expectantly and smilingly looked at him.
The auctioneer now repeated: “This magnificent vase goes to the gracious benefactor of our poor orphans, Mr. Maximilian Delarmy, our famous visitor in town.”
Maximilian felt completely thunderstruck, but de Solace murmured: “They now expect you to collect this piece of ugliness and arrange for the payment.”
“Oh my god, how much is it?” Max asked.
“Much, I fear. – Ten-thousand Pounds.”
Maximilian heavily swallowed.
“You have no choice but to go now. We can try and get rid of the ugly thing later. But now, I fear, you have to collect it.”
Maximilian was rooted to the spot and could not move. Only his look up into the face of Ellie, who seemed to be angry with him for hesitating, sent him up the steps to the auctioneer and his crew of helpers.
When he came back some time later, Ellie was gone from the first row.
De Solace, who had seen who had had all his attention, said: “She just left with her father. You might still catch her at the entrance.”
|Edited - L. North as Max (Source: RANet.com)|
He saw Ellie immediately and from a distance called her name. She turned round and looked at him, but immediately averted her gaze and ignored him. She entered a car and Maximilian, though rushing to her, only saw her leaving. She looked at him from behind the tainted glasses, he was sure of that, but did not wait for him to catch up.
With disappointed face he watched the car leaving with her.
When he turned round after a while to walk back to de Solace, a proud looking man watched him with a mean smile. Max did not know this man and did not have the least idea, why he held a grudge against him.
He left the man standing near the entrance and while searching for de Solace forgot all about him.
He wanted to leave the party to follow Ellie as soon as possible and to explain the whole development.
... Continue with Part 5 ...