“…and in two weeks there is old car exhibition in Sandlewoods, I think the boys would be happy to go to. Especially for Kaspar, Anton and Petro, who’ve been always into mechanics, ‘though in Petro’s case, it probably would be the question in design if…” she dug into her purse for some files.
“Have you found a residence?” Maksim cut into her babbling, pulling away the curtain in front of the window to observe the rainy dull street outside his office. The files had been immaculately clean-cut and precise in every other aspect of the proposal, except the loggings. He didn’t want to touch the topic, but the businessman in him couldn’t look past this. It wasn’t about propriety, but practicality. This should be the first thing she’d have to deal with, and he doubted she’d overlook something as major as this.
The woman’s voice died, knowing full well this would break the deal. He waited, his ears perked up. Her voice was resigned, when she admit it, but caught herself quickly. “No, we don’t have a place yet. But I am sure I can find one still and will have time for preparations.”
“You’re not hundred percent sure?”
Had he turned around, he would have seen the shake of her head, which hardly moved the thick black waves weaved with dark magpie colors beneath the dull exterior resting on her shoulders. She wasn’t willing to admit the defeat and Maksim, despite his frown, admired her courage for even saying it out loud. Three weeks searching for campsites, tenting allowances – anything her project money would have allowed and she hadn’t given up yet on the plan? He could see all the talks running into sand after mentioning the camp would include 7 boys, all whom were in their prime wrecking ball age. It was the first thing he’d picked out from the proposal too, so he had no problem imagining the quick no-s flying around like mosquito. If only one could slap them with the same vigor.
“I believe I could offer you a solution.” Said Maksim and let go of the curtain. He turned around and froze on the scared bunny face he encountered on her. That wasn’t quite the reaction he was going for. Maybe it was too sudden? He wasn’t known to be subtle.
“We’re open for any offer, sir.” She blinked and the fear was gone, replaced with chilling cold.
It was suspiciously calculative and without thinking he fell back to his usual behaviorism, beginning the proposal with explanations that he was only doing this, because the deadline was too close and the probabilities of finding any other was looking scarcer by the day, but stopped almost immediately, when, looking up from his papers, he could read from her thinned lips he wasn’t revealing anything new under the Sun. As if mask had fallen on, the sort of annoyed, bored model mask and he couldn’t bare looking at it.
She wasn’t a model. She would be perfect in something less uncomfortable than her make-shift suit she’d chosen to present her idea in, black trousers, bottoms hiding the not-so-high pair of heels and a brighter blue jacket with black ornaments running up from the edges as if the darkness of the pants was melting into her. No expensive jewlery to speak of, but nothing hideously cheap either. Except the worn leather bracelet of multiple colored decor and cowries stacked like old hippies had. It wasn’t overpowering, but it clearly meant something to the woman. Her sharp nose stood out and her dark hair made her look paler than she was, bringing out the freckled line that ran out of her blue sleeve, through the loop of the bracelet and all the way to her nimble long fingers with carefully manicured nails. Painted black.
His eyes darted up. She took it seriously, taking care of details. This was good. She wasn’t here for fun.
Who were those WE he mentioned? Wasn’t she here alone, standing up for her own agenda? He read the first two lines of the proposition he’d grabbed out of frustration to have at least something between him and the woman. He let out a sigh and smirked – she meant the boys. He’d thought she was some good-doer, who just wanted to do some charity to look good, which had annoyed him the whole morning after whimsically agreeing to see the woman, but now he began to think she knew them far more intimately than she first appeared to and her sudden seriousness had opened a window to her youthful soul. She had a goal and she was prepared to grab any opportunity to make this summer camp idea work. Perhaps not the best way to accomplish things as he hoped she had brains to at least filter through the chances first, still, he couldn’t shake the feeling his gut feeling had been right about this and his temper began to subside.
“My family owns an old farm place, which is currently empty, about an hour drive from the Sandlewoods. It has a main house and two side buildings. A sauna. It used to be a hotel, but tourism died out there long time ago. If you’re interested, you can check the place out at the beginning of next week and if you like it, you can let my man there know what else you would need?” Beds, he counted in his head, fresh pillows and blankets – was he making a list in his head?
Laura Harrington stared at him, speechless. Her eyes narrowed and he imagined her calculating odds of someone breaking a thing and the costs of it. Maksim knew there was nothing for her to ponder about, but he respected her wish to not come off as needy, so he gave her time. Her brown eyes sparked though, like Sunstone catching the sun through all the layers between the misty outdoors and here.
“That would be perfect, thank you. I’d like to check it over.”