Travelers Ch. 08byMoon Glade©
I was nervous during the drive down to Paris because I did not have a passport, but Martin assured me that we would be able to drive right into France without a problem. I now had a little more than 1200 euros of my own and that fact relieved my anxiety.
Sandra had introduced me to Tineke the day before we left for Paris and Tineke thanked me for covering for her and told me the name and phone number of someone she had worked for in Paris when she attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school. She told me she still liked to cook, but she had made so much money working as an escort that year she was a student that she decided that she would stay ‘in the life' for a few more years. The woman's name was Immanuel and I took the name and telephone number just in case.
Martin had booked us into the Hotel Crillon and when we checked in the desk clerk told Martin that he had booked his son-in-law and daughter (with a nod toward me) into an adjoining room. Martin thanked him and said that his son-in-law would not be joining us. On the way up the elevator he explained that he made the booking in that manner in the interest of discretion before we left the states, but since Jeremy did not know what hotel he had made reservations at it would be very unlikely he would be joining us.
That evening we had dinner at Taillevent and I was amazed at the quality of the food and the wine. The meal with wine cost almost as much as my entire little nest egg and when I thanked Martin profusely for his generosity he told me that he would be flying up to Stockholm for a few days while I got my passport replaced. He told me that he would return to Paris the evening of the 22nd or 23rd depending on flights and not to worry as the hotel was booked and paid for through the 25th of June.
When I asked why he was going up to Stockholm Martin told me that he always spent Midsommars Afton or mid summers eve, the longest day of the year there.
"Sounds like a lover's rendezvous Martin." I said with an arched eyebrow.
"It is." He answered in a choked voice and then explained that he had spread Ulla's ashes in a park called Svansholm Parken or The Swans' Home Park in a suburb of Stockholm called Stocksund.
"We once lived in the villa just overlooking the park, the Villa Vegeta it was called. The man who built it made his fortune in China and was a vegetarian. Ulla wanted to be cremated and she wanted her ashes spread in the gazebo in that park that is right on the point of the sound. That was the place where we first met, the place where we first kissed and the place where I proposed." He said with tears in his eyes as he continued. "Every year on the longest day of the year I go there before sunset and share my past year of adventures with her until the sun comes up again. At that time of year in Sweden that period of time is less than two hours, but at the end of those two hours I feel like going on for at least one more year. I still keep the apartment we had there even though I only come there once a year"
I said nothing and simply reached across the table and took his hand.
When we got back to the hotel I asked Martin if he would like me to share his bed that night. I had had Martin in my mouth, but I wanted to have vaginal intercourse with him and hold him in my arms and comfort him afterwards.
Martin looked at me for a long time and then said, "I would like nothing more and an old man like me does not get an offer like that very often if at all, but I think I will take a rain check if you don't mind." And he disappeared into his room.
The next morning I went to the American Embassy and started the process of replacing my passport. I then went to a travel agent and was shocked at how much a one way ticket was back to the states. I wasn't sure that I wanted to go back so early in the summer, but I wanted to know that if I decided to go my own way I would have enough money to buy a ticket home. I could not believe the fact that I didn't!
After some sobering reflection I decided to call the number of Immanuel that Tineke had given me and see if I could earn some extra money while Martin was up in Sweden.
"Do you speak English?" I asked the voice on the other end of the line.
"Yes, I do. How can I help you?" Came back at me in pure clear and beautiful and well educated English.
"Tineke in Maastricht gave me your number and I was wondering if you had any openings?" I said in a voice much more confident than I really felt.
"Typically I hire only well educated women who have not been in the life prior to coming to work for me, but I will give Tineke a call and I will call you back to arrange an interview if I decide that I might have a need for you. What is your telephone number?" She asked.
When I gave her my telephone number Immanuel said, "You are staying at the Crillon?"
After a split second's hesitation I simply said, "Yes."
An hour later Immanuel's call was put through to my room and she told me that because of Tineke's recommendation and because I could not be staying at the Crillon if I were ‘common' she would like to have lunch with me.
During that lunch Immanuel asked me very many questions on all subjects from art to history to men. She also was very observant of how I carried myself and my manners. Finally she said, "I have a special situation that I believe you may be perfect for. I think that you are in your middle twenties but you could easily pass for a twenty year old. What I have in mind for you will require some deception on your part. I have a very good client who has a son that has now graduated from university and is a virgin. My client wants to arrange a girl for him, but he does not want his son to know that it is a professional. He wants someone fresh, young and kind for his son's first time."
"That is quite a responsibility." I said.
"Yes, that is exactly what it is when you take someone's virginity, a responsibility." She said in a serious voice before continuing, "The father wants to meet the girl first and interview her before sending her up to his son's room. They are staying at The George the Fifth and you will meet the father in the dining room at seven this evening. His name is Paul Michaels."
At precisely seven that evening I was shown to the table of an attractive businessman in his early fifties. I noticed immediately that his clothing was all bespoke tailoring including his shirts with their intricate yet tastefully monogrammed sleeves.
We talked for almost an hour while we shared Petrossian caviar and toast points. Paul started out by asking me if I had ever dated any nerds in high school and I laughed and said, "Nerds by definition don't go out on dates, but I did belong to the chess club in high school and many of my best friends were what people refer to as nerds. A few years later at a high school reunion many of those nerds showed up with what people like to refer to as ‘trophy wives'. I was friends with many of them before they married and I naturally became friends with their ‘trophy wives'. Those wives were beautiful and intelligent enough not to be taken in just by appearances and they had married loving, kind, intelligent and successful men. Not all beautiful people are shallow. I have always hated labels, it's a way for mean people to try and put down other people."
Paul gave me a long look and then said, "My son is a mathematical genius and a graduate of MIT, but at an absolute loss when it comes to meeting women. He has a great deal of confidence about mathematics, geography and chess but he does not have a lot of self-confidence when it comes to interacting with women, especially beautiful ones like you. My son confessed to me last week that he was still a virgin and that he was beginning to think he would someday be an eccentric old math professor living alone with his cats and that would be as close as he ever got to any, excuse the expression, pussy."
We both laughed as Paul ruefully shook his head.
When the waiter came Paul told him that we would not be having dinner in the dining room after all, but would like to order and have the meal delivered to his room.
"We would like a bottle of your finest champagne, a dozen Belon flats, an entrecote with béarnaise and a salad Nicoise, sent to room 436." He said without hesitation as he handed the waiter the menus.
In the elevator Paul explained to me that he had told his son he had a business meeting and that he would be meeting him for dinner sometime after seven. When we got to his room he called his son's room down the hall and said, "Dave I'm sorry but I am going to have to have dinner with my clients, but I ordered room service for you and it should be coming up to your room in the next half hour."
After he got off the phone he explained that the meal he had ordered was his son's favorite and said, "After the meal is delivered here I will tell them to just leave it on the cart, you will then take it to room 454 and after that how you seduce my son will depend upon your ingenuity. Long ago I had the birds and bees talk with my son and he should have a package of condoms in his shave kit or somewhere. If he is the conscientious young man that I think he is he will want to use them, if not, please insist that he does. I know you don't have to worry about picking up any STD's from him as he is a virgin, but I have no idea how healthy you are so please be insistent on that. I will pay you 500 euros for every hour that you spend together with him so that is a pretty good incentive. Take off your wedding band, but leave the engagement ring on. I don't want my son hurt. If you succeed and he thinks he is in love with you afterwards, and young men often do when their first time is with a woman as beautiful as you, that engagement ring will be your way of letting him down gently."
When the waiter came with the cart Paul leaned around the door and said, "Just leave the cart please I prefer to set-up the meal myself."
Paul looked at the ice covered tray containing the twelve oysters and said, "I am not sure what tempts me more; my son's oysters or his dessert?" and he gave me a lecherous look to let me know he meant me in terms of his son's dessert.
"I have never had an oyster and I don't know how anyone could even think of eating a raw oyster." I said and without a second's hesitation Paul squeezed some fresh lemon on one of the oysters and used the small fork to pull it from its shell and before I could react put it in my mouth!"
I swallowed in surprised shock and said, "My god that was wonderful, it's like eating the sea!"
Paul laughed and said, "Something's you just gotta do without thinking about them." And with that opened the door and pushed the cart out into the hall and said, "Good luck and remember you have a real responsibility, he is fragile and insecure when it comes to women."
When I knocked on the door I heard, "Just a minute and then a few minutes later the door came open and I saw a tall skinny male in his early twenties walking back into the room to the table and looking perplexed at a pile of papers filled with mathematical equations. He had not even looked at me when he said, "I'm sorry but could you just leave the cart. It is taking me longer than I thought to get these in order."
"I don't mind waiting while you clear the table." I said.
For the first time he looked at me and I could see by the shocked expression that he was not expecting an attractive young woman in a cocktail dress. He hesitated and then said, "You're American and somehow I don't believe you work in the kitchen, at least not in that dress."
I laughed and said, "No, I don't and yes I am. My brother works in the kitchen. He is finishing his apprenticeship there and they are so swamped this evening that he sort of broke the rules and asked me to deliver this meal. I hope you don't mind."
"No…it's alright." He said.
"What is all that?" I said looking at the table full of papers with mathematical permutations and for the first time noticing that the bed was equally covered in mathematics.
"I do algorithms, this is one that I think I am on the verge of and well, once I get thinking it is hard to stop. I have two that I have the rights to and this one could be even more important." He said.
"Are they valuable?" I asked.
"I have been lucky, my first two have had very important applications and the financial rewards have been commensurate, but I develop them for the sheer mathematical beauty of them and the money is really only secondary to me." He said reaching for his wallet to give me a tip.
"No, no that's not necessary and in fact I have a confession to make." I said laughingly.
"What is that?" He responded.
"I ate one of your oysters. I'm sorry but I have never had a raw oyster before and I just wanted to see what it would be like." I explained.
"Well I have bad news for you," he said, "you started at the top and it can only be downhill from here. You just ate one of the Belon Flats from Belon in Brittany and as far as oysters go they don't get any better than that. It is all downhill for you from here in the oyster department, unless you want to move to Concarneau, Riec sur Belon or Pont Aven."
"Can I have another one? I haven't had dinner" I said with a grin.
"If you haven't had dinner oysters won't do it for you. They are the one food that will not fill you up no matter how many of them you eat, well at least for me" He said uncertainly.
I noticed on a coffee table in the corner a chess set and said, "Is that yours?"
"Yeah, my Dad and I try to play at least one game everyday. We have since I was a kid." He said.
"I'll tell you what; I'll play you for your oysters." I said with a laugh.
"I don't think that would be a good idea because my entrecote would go cold." He said as he put a fry in his mouth.
I reached down and helped myself to a fry and looked at him with a mischievous smile and said, "You think I can't play chess because I'm a girl?"
"Ok, we can play a game while I eat my steak and fries; you can have that salad if you would like and we will play for who gets the oysters." He said shaking his head ruefully in the same manner his father had earlier.
"By the way, my name is Suze." I said.
"I'm Dave." He answered and stuck out his hand.
When we began to play Dave immediately said, "I have to insist that if you touch a piece that you will move it."
I nodded a yes and had to hide the fact that I was beginning to steam. What did he think? That I was some sort of a dunce who didn't know en passant from passing? I had played chess for four years against my older brother and never won a game until at the age of 12, in a fit of frustrated rage I went to the local library and checked out every book they had on chess and secretly read and studied them for the next two and a half months. The next time I played my brother I destroyed him, but he wrote it off to his not paying attention to my moves and when we played the next game he said, "If you beat me this time I will get the mail in my skivvies."
My brother went to the mail box that day in his skivvies and in fact he never beat me at chess again and whenever I felt like teaching him a lesson (my term for playing him a game of chess) I would say, "Do you feel like getting the mail in your skivvies again?" My brother would never bet on a chess game, at least not with me, again.
During high school I played several tournaments and often beat rated players much older than I was at the time, but gradually I drifted away from chess and when I went away to college I only found time to play against computers. Computer chess was too slow and too predictable for me and I finally stopped playing all together. Now I was being condescended to by someone who had no idea what kind of a player I was, or could be.
I took a look at the board and pieces. The pieces were hand carved alabaster, probably from Volterra. The pieces were the classic Staunton design. I suddenly realized that my opponent was also not a casual player as I looked down at the inlayed wooden board that gave off a beautiful aroma and wondered what sort of wood it was made from. Then I noticed on a shelf not far away two more clues: A chess clock and chess notation pads!
Knowledge that others don't have is power I thought. He doesn't know that I know he is a formidable opponent and he underestimates my abilities as a chess player. I can win the first game just based on that I thought. When he put a white pawn and a black pawn behind his back and then brought his hands forward I was relived when I chose the hand containing the black pawn. I could follow his opening and pretend to not understand the nuances of the game longer if I did not have to open.
His opening was standard textbook Kings Gambit and I could tell that he was paying more attention to his steak and frites than to his game or my moves as I slowly developed pieces seemingly in response to his moves. Then he brought out his queen too soon in anticipation of a quick mate. I wanted to smile in satisfaction as I quietly countered and continued to develop my position and pieces while causing him to make a few wasted moves to defend his queen. Those wasted moves allowed me to castle without losing momentum, momentum that my opponent did not even know I had as I developed my plan.
When I castled I made one mistake and I could tell by the questioning look in his eyes that he was beginning to reconsider the game and my abilities. My mistake was that I castled correctly by moving the king to its place first and then the rook. He had said touch move and I was afraid if I did not do it correctly he could disallow the castle as had once happened in an open tournament game I had played against a highly rated chess master who was desperately trying to win anyway he could and save his reputation from the coming defeat at the hands of a 15 year old girl.
As we moved into the end game I could tell that he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that he had not castled and that his development was flawed and I had gained control of the center. He was now beginning to pay more attention to the game, to my game, and it was now increasingly my game, then to his steak and fries.
When he tried to fork my queen and king I looked up at him with a smile before I made the necessary move to stop the threat and said, "Although I know you would really like to fork me, I don't think I can let that happen, at least not so easily."
Dave turned red with embarrassment at my double entendre and looked back down at the board in concentration in an attempt to hide it from me.
I now knew that if he did not sacrifice his queen to stop it I would be able to begin a six move combination that by forcing his moves would result in checkmate. When he moved his queen to safety I said, "Would you open the champagne, I think it would go down well with my oysters?"
His response was an amused smile until I brought my bishop across the diagonal and said, "Check " and then dropping the gauntlet totally and letting him know who he was dealing with added, " with Mate to follow in six moves."
Dave stared at the board and then quietly turned his king onto its side and looked up into my eyes and said, "I apologize, I underestimated you as a player and as a person."
I laughed and said, "I will share the oysters with you if you share the champagne."
While we fed each other the oysters and drank champagne I told Dave the story of how I had learned the game and finally prevailed over my older brother and we both laughed at the fact that he had to get the mail in his skivvies.
"Now that I know who I am playing I don't think you will be able to beat me so let's have another go." Dave said after we finished the oysters and most of the champagne.