Just the very next day, was the scheduled first of the designer house rep ‘gifting suite’ private affairs. Here, Charlotte was going to show Alon the ropes, just to begin with the first few times, and she would be running the whole thing that evening with Alon on the side helping out. The kid was totally not stupid – he would fall right into it like a hand in a glove whenever it would be that she decided to hand over to him fully. Rich kid himself to begin with, of course. He already spoke the language.
7:30 pm for 8. The place was in that kind of ‘gloaming’ with the accent lights on outside almost, it seemed creating even more shadows than would have been there if it were all in total darkness. The front gates were open. Cars pulled up.
Charlotte had trained staff on hand. They went out to the vehicles, opened the doors, escorted the occupant out each time, brought them up into the mansion front steps where the front doors were already opening on cue.
One girl, she was not much more than a girl, really – maybe 20, not much older than that – had on a just-over-the-knee dark mauve cotton-and-lace long-sleeved frock and a mauve double-layered organza veiled beret hat. And socks, she was literally wearing these kind of lacy bobby-socks and mules; with thick heels, not stilettos.
A very very expensive get-up. Girlish, sort of weird ‘designer Amish’ or ‘designer Mennonite’ kind of feel...
...Simplistic but carried off in such a way that you knew it had to have been very expensive.
It was actually rather difficult to see her face properly and her hair but she was a blonde, one of those rustic rural blondes with eyebrows darker than the hair of her head. ...So young looking. Not fine boned but -, like a well-bred and well looked-after ‘red heifer’ for those who know what that means.
The other lady was much more seasoned in the way she walked and carried herself on a professional socialite’s black stilettos; perhaps she was mid-twenty something. She had on a black taffeta and hollow silk patterned evening dress, accompanied with a heavy black mantilla veil. And a large pear-shaped lemon quartz cocktail ring on her right hand index finger.
...Swayed her hips noticeably when she walked towards the steps, and placed her feet carefully as she went up the stone steps.
Charlotte was all smiles, those cutting embassy party smiles, with her straight-across long eyebrows, her deep channelled philtrum - that medial channel between the upper lip and the nose - and her fleshy lower lip enticing anyone with an ounce of warmth to radiate back their own charm on each and every cunning smile that she gave.
Charlotte’s eyes were so strong and clear and blue-grey, that you were easily swept up in the confidence coming from them and you could feel at-ease even when you were effectively inside the jaws of death.
Both of the young women had large, thick, stiffened cream-coloured deckled-edge velin d’ARCHES
cards with them.
Attendants took these from them, leading the women to a large suite at the end of a corridor.
There were Baccarat crystal candle sticks and velvet plush-covered chairs and flowers...
And large ice-buckets with the crack cocaine of wines – sparkling White Burgundy.
Vera-Lucien was already in there, seated, wearing a quickly purchased black evening dress bought that very same day from a boutique in the city -, and with a black Chantilly lace chapel veil over her hair and head like she was Jackie Kennedy stepping out of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston for a LIFE magazine photo-op.
“Don’t forget,” whispered Charlotte, as she buzzed by them briefly and with grey-blue eyes blazing. “When the gentleman in the black suit arrives, it’s okay to show your faces a little, but when his assistant comes in, you must -” She gestured with her own hands. “ - make sure to cover your face as much as possible.”
And then she disappeared off to attend to whatever it was she seemed to be urgently having to set about attending to.
The younger girl turned to the older of the girls. “Why? Why must we do this, now?”
“It’s part of the show. These Paris designers, you know.” She made with a circulating finger above one side of her head. “They are all kooky.”
Attendants brought in large extravagant platters of charcuterie and laid these out on a long side table.
One of the liveried staff filled crystal flutes with wine and spiked them with xenon gas blasts and inserted straws into the drinks before handing them to the innocent young things...
A sound system warmly started up with the Beatsole Remix of Alan Morris and Marco Cera’s ‘Balloon.’
Two service uniformed and athletic-looking young males entered the suite and stood with their backs against the wall at the rear almost like soldiers.
The man who had brought the wine offered plates of charcuterie.
A large screen opened up on the main wall, and a transmission came on and a man appeared in the picture, wearing a small face microphone.
“Good evening, ladies, guests, welcome -, and to all of our staff members too. Good evening and welcome. Thank you for coming. Is the sound coming through all right?”
One of the attendants signalled that yes, it was.
“Well hello to all. My name is * *. I retired as a Major in the US Military a while back, when I decided to transition the unusual research we were doing under the auspices of the military at the time, to a private situation, and when my team and I realised that what we were doing was particularly useful in the civilian context.
“So, with your permission – and please let us know if you are disinclined to participate or feel uncomfortable about any aspect – I would like to introduce you, for the next five minutes, to the ‘Rolls Royce’ of relaxation massage therapies...”
Dusky blonde angled her head to her friend and said: “Sounds okay to me.”
“Okay then. Please -, pleased be seated as comfortably as you can now, take off your shoes if you care to. And our trained therapists will now commence.”
There were side tables next to the plush velvet chairs. The wine glasses went down. Shoes came off.
And presently, strong males hands fell onto the shoulders of both women.
The voice from the man on the screen continued.
“What kinds of flowers do you like? Do you like roses? Our massages therapists here have spent the whole day immersing their hands in pure clear water, that has been infused with freshly-cut beautiful pink roses... ...and that water is scented with rose then too, and the water is coloured pink now as well. Imagine that water. The pink water...”
As the assured hands worked their magic, the attendants went to the front of the large room, and withdrew the big white cloths that had been covering tables with all the many objects and packages and paper bags and mounds of fabrics and colourful cellophane-wrapped things on the tables.