It was unadulterated vanilla, whisked into a buoyant crème, nourished within a thin, diaphanous wafer of the same Tahitian orchid. It was showered with raspberries and intricate slices of kiwifruit, whilst an orange slice and Valrhona chocolate provided delectable pageantry for the indulgent affair.
She called it Cercle d’Or.
For its richness.
For its ambrosial heft on the tongue.
She laughed, heartily.
“Do you like it?!”
The palatable dessert was coupled with a tawny Niepoort, allowed to bask in a barrel of oak for twenty years. Giancarlo nibbled quietly, in a contemplative manner, returning the partial morsel to the ivory plate. He was patient in his consumption of the delicate confection, as evidenced in his deliberate and careful mastication. The vanilla crème sufficiently imbued within his glands, Giancarlo tended to the corners of his mouth with a linen napkin, of Italian ilk.
He sat momentarily, without words.
“Si.” She conceded.
He paused momentarily, still contemplating the creamy indulgence.
“Come…” he began, “Un baccio fragile.”
Claire formed a breathless smile, her heart submerged in relief.
“Grazie,” she said. “Sei molto gentile.”
Giancarlo raised the glass of port to his lips, rinsing his gratified palate with the aged beverage.
They occupied a bare cocobolo table near the large, picturesque windows, whose views fell out onto the cobblestoned streets of Mercer. The panoramic scenes were dictated by a late vernal equinox, where sundresses, replete with floral prints, strode along the sidewalks in flowing revelry.
Claire partook in an espresso.
“And your journey?” she inquired. “I trust you were comfortable.”
He prepared to speak again, before a pause.
“It was my first trip on an airplane with a sofa. Like a house in the sky.”
She brandished a faint smile, before becoming lost in the contents of her cup. The sagacious Italian, adorned in woven linen and a cardigan of auburn hues, observed the Lady Mulberry, who appeared sullen, despite the vestiges of success surrounding her.
“In the winter of 1944, I marched through a path in the Alps, vicino Ossola. My regiment were pursuing the Fascists through the apli a Milano, con vigore!”
Claire listened, intently.
“Burdened with a man’s weight in gear and supplies and having depleted our fuel, we became stranded in several meters of snow, with more accumulating each minute.”
“I was still a boy. Diciassette anni. Il comandante, he said to me…”
“Do not fret.”
As another summer dress fluttered by the jeweled window, Claire Mulberry stared at the ivory-haired warrior poet, and smiled.
“Thank you for being here with me.”
Implode. Part LV – DK
The arcade of shoppes within the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
Milan, Italy. Ensconsed in you – DK
Because the gods blush, too.
The wonder above, upon entering the Bellagio.
Las Vegas, Nevada. Mereviglia – DK
Because some creatures, only exist at night.
The nocturnal frenzy of the city.
New York City. Revitalized – DK
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
Because every moment is necessary.
The impeccable detail of Il Duomo.
Milan, Italy. Focused – DK
An amber tide of sunlight washed through the magnitude of the SoHo loft, though it was the irresistible aroma, synonymous with her culinary skill, that beguiled the senses and seduced the air. The sizzling of farm fresh eggs, enraptured by Vacherin Mont d’Or and cracked black pepper, was locked in a furious embrace with the atmosphere. While her husband sat at the Veizla, the angular dining table of titanium and glass from the Mulberry Asgard Collection, Claire Mulberry christened the gourmet ova with green shards of sweet basil and a mite of lemon juice. She then placed the superlative omelette onto an ivory plate, handcrafted with painstaking Venetian care.
Maxwell was engaged in the Sunday edition of The New York Times. The Hawaiian coffee beans, born of a nurturing sun, the Pacific gale, and volcanic ash, were coerced into culinary submission, metamorphosed into the smoldering hazel embers of his cup. The caffeinated soil was kissed by amaretto and whisked with vanilla crème.
Claire presented the omelette to her husband.
He glanced up from the news periodical, and smiled. Claire was similarly amused by their ritualistic Sunday banter. Maxwell observed his wife’s delectable creation with pride, as a linen napkin came to rest upon his lap.
And then, without notice, the Burmese door had been unlatched in the foyer.
Claire’s smile began to fade, as she turned to her husband, remiss of joy,
Implode. Part LIII – DK
The summer rain, playing along the grounds of a country estate.
Somewhere along the Atlantic coast. Pioggia – DK
Milanese windows and fashionable veils.
Milan, Italy. Sable stride – DK