He stood in the shaded midst of 795 Meadow Lane, Southampton. It was a New England kitchen, traditional in nature, playing beneath the somber luminescence of a coastal dawn. It was her cathedral, and the initial space to swoon for his appraisal. Satisfied with the resplendent marble floors, his gaze rose toward the atrium. The charcoal gray two-button suit, imagined by the renowned designer who lived across the way, demurred the light spilling onto his indubitable frame.
A collection of documents littered his purposeful grasp. He continued to roll the financial offer, in a contemplative manner, into modern scrolls.
Benjamin occupied the arm of a muted sofa.
“Don’t go more than seventeen.” he advised.
Maxwell parted with his trance momentarily, to gaze at his friend.
“It’s worth twenty-five.”
“It’s worth forty,” Benjamin replied confidently. “Go twenty-five if you have to. If you absolutely must. But seventeen is the number.”
Maxwell considered his friend’s counsel, nodding appreciatively. It had been some while since he had spoken in such certain terms.
He responded in kind.
“Then seventeen it shall be.”
He started for his Blackberry.
“She’s wonderful, Max.”
Maxwell paused and turned toward his friend, who sulked in his own charcoal Tom Ford ensemble.
He looked up.
“Did you know that she loves art? I mean, absolutely loves art!”
Maxwell sighed, still harbored beneath the somber caress of the opening above.
“She’s a curator, Ben.”
“I know,” he said with a smile. “She took me to the Wildenstein.”
He sat, reminiscently, his thoughts reverting toward an aquatic Saturday afternoon.
“She should be a dealer. She’d make a great dealer.”
With his head lowered and his posture similarly demure, Maxwell aborted his appraisal of the two-storey Palladian home and listened, whilst the Atlantic Ocean played alongside the surrounding bays.
“I can help her with that,” he continued. “She’s exquisite, really.”
He continued to smile, alone in his thoughts.
“She’s a married woman, Benjamin.”
Benjamin glared at the demiurgic architect. It was a specific glance, ruinous to spectacular fortunes, gross domestic products, and similarly ambitious men. And though a reactionary stare, he bore no such ill will toward his benevolent friend. As immediate as its arrival, the icy chill would thaw, his thoughts returning toward the exceptional Mrs. Horowitz.
“She’s a married woman, Ben.”
Benjamin pondered momentarily.
“Yeah,” he sighed. “But that isn’t love.”
Though his demeanor remained poised, Maxwell appeared disappointed in his friend’s amorous judgment. He was particularly dismayed by his current fancy. His jaw tightened, as he prepared to engage a question avoided since the philanthropist wanderer’s sudden disappearance.
“What about Isabella?”
Benjamin’s gaze fell through the Palladian windows out onto the sea.
“What about Isabella, Ben?”
Still, Benjamin idled on the armrest of the sofa, gaze attuned toward the sea. He appeared at peace, his face serene.
“I do not know what you’ve suffered. I cannot know how she confounded your heart.”
Benjamin remained still, lost on the song of the ocean.
“Against my better judgment, and the inclinations of my wife, I am prepared to support your endeavors. Including the precipitous one, on which you now embark. I will set you up, financially. You may have the place on Thompson & Bleecker. There are no bounds to my munificence.”
Benjamin maintained his tranquil poise.
“My only request, is that you not abandoned us again. You are my dearest friend.”
Benjamin blinked once, inhaling deeply. He took a moment to visually explore the expansive oceanside estate, before addressing his friend.
“How about the house?”
Maxwell appeared perplexed. A combination of his intimidating stare and evasive conversational tactics reminded the architect of a man from a distant past.
“Do you like it?” he continued. “The house?”
Maxwell, too, took a moment to inhale the space.
“Very much so,” he contended. “I’m going to make an offer.”
Benjamin maintained his watch over the meticulous property and its muted interiors.
“Let me get it for you.”
The statement further confounded the architectural virtuoso, who observed his friend, without words. Though in this instance, Benjamin provided clarification for his altruistic offer.
“I didn’t give it all away.”
Implode. Part LIV – DK