Since they would encounter again at Columbus Circle, in the place where he had confessed truth, unbridled admiration, and his first faux pas, Benjamin would make his way south, to seek out the architect, for his well renown insight into the social arts.
As he made his approach in the burnished calfskin boot, from the modernity of the elevator, onto the serenity of the Burmese floors, he was met by the mesmeric allure of the Scandinavian beauty, Ms. Olsson. She paused in her work to observe the evolving figure, over wire-framed spectacles. She took note of his Gucci pea coat, which was appropriate over a tee-shirt and denim, made possible by Ralph Lauren. Gone was the woolly beard and unkempt hair. His manner was calm and deliberate. And though he was not the same disheveled creature of their first encounter, he had yet to become himself.
“Mr. Grey,” She began with a smile.
“Ben,” he insisted. “Just Ben is fine.”
Ms. Olsson took note of his preferential designation, with an acknowledging nod of the eyes. She then began to rise from the titanium swivel, which was reluctant to part with her person, and made her way toward the opposite side of the loft. And though her gait warranted the captivation of an audience, Benjamin allowed his thoughts to be otherwise concerned by the harmonious accord of the SoHo office, meticulously crafted by his well-mannered friend. He became lost in the appointments and the seemingly effortless manner by which they were composed. As he continued his cerebral circumvention of the space, his demeanor was overtaken by a sensational calm. He closed his eyes and for a moment, the details of his current persona or those of his former self, were insignificant.
Ms. Olsson, having arrived near the luminous French windows, turned to observe the noble wanderer, who was now suspended in a dream.
“He should have been a conductor.”
Benjamin opened his eyes.
“Pardon?” Ms. Olsson wondered.
“Max.” Benjamin continued. “The way he puts things together. The way he orchestrates. He should have been…”
He was unable to find the words. Ms. Olsson rescued him.
Benjamin still lost in his thoughts, though content with his assertion, smiled.
“Is he here?”
“Mr. Mulberry is away at the moment. However, he wanted to make certain that you wanted for nothing in his absence.”
She stood beside a metallic clothing trestle, where two garment totes idled patiently.
Benjamin appeared confused.
“I don’t understand.”
“This is for going out…”
Ms. Olsson unzipped the first of the two garment totes, both emblazoned with the Tom Ford moniker across the portage. Ensconced within was the black Wetherby jacket, accompanied by a black classic tailored pant, both of silk and linen. There were also black crocodile shoes to match.
“This for staying in…”
She unleashed the second, to reveal a flower dressing gown, of charcoal grey and cream chine. It was plush, complete with piping details. The leisurely robe was accompanied by a white evening shirt, with French cuffs and jeweled links by Deakin & Francis. Also within the garment tote was the ivory twill, fluid-linen pant. And though provided…
“Mr. Mulberry said that the white suede espadrilles were optional.”
Benjamin diverted his attention from the silk trove of gifts to behold Ms. Olsson, who smiled. As he attempted to comprehend the uncanny foresight of his friend’s generosity, the viking beauty made a return to the Bolivian desk. She opened a compartment within the handcrafted table and removed an envelope of midnight blue. The velvet stationary, embossed in 24 karat gold trim and soft to the touch, bore the architect’s personal emblem.
“And this.” Ms. Olsson continued.
She presented the signature stationary to the de Gris Laurent heir, in an outstretched hand.
Benjamin observed the envelope carefully, before inspecting the Swedish siren, with circumspection. He then accepted the ornate parcel, tearing it open, to reveal an onyx American Express Centurion Card.
Benjamin held the anotized titanium within his bewildered grasp, turning to behold Ms. Olsson once more.
“And this?” he inquired.
The Scandinavian beauty smiled.
“As you like.”
Implode. Part LXXIX – DK