The room was almost empty when George first walked in. Save for the new, white grand piano to the center-left of the large window on the wall opposite him, the room was completely unfurnished. What was there, though, George rather liked. The floor was a shined white marble, and, looking down at it, George found himself staring at his reflection. The walls were a plain off-white, but that was exactly what George wanted.
He took a walk back to one of the other two rooms. This room wasnt quite as large as the first, though it wasnt smaller by much. The floor and the walls were the same as in the first room, and the only furnishing in this room was a rather large bed in the center of the room. The bed itself was intriguing. It was a four-poster, and the sheets and pillowcases were a light silver color. The frame of the bed was an unpainted mahogany, which, combined with the silver and off-white, gave off a contrasting effect that George quite liked. The carvings on the legs of the bed were unnecessarily elaborate designs, and as you went up the posts of the bed the designs gradually became more simplistic. He felt almost drawn to it, and, not entirely conscious of the movement, made his was towards it. He ran his fingers over the carvings and the designs on the posts. The cool, smooth texture of the wood was pleasant beneath his fingers.
The man behind him, whom George had completely forgotten about in his fixation with the bed, decided to speak. So, do you like it?. George turned around, looking at his companion and benefactor. Its brilliant. He said, turning his head to get a good look at the rest of the room.
Good. Im glad you like it. Andre said, a smile gracing his perfect, nearly flawless features. The man could have been said to be Michelangelos real masterpiece, carved from marble. He raised his eyebrows, leaning against the wall by the doorway. Quite simple, but elegant, I think. It suits you.
George could not help but smile. Indeed. He said, looking through the doorway back into the first room, Why all this, though?.
Its a favor for you. People do favors for people. Friends do favors for friends. A little kindness every now and then doesnt hurt. He paced around on the empty floor, moving his hands as he spoke. Not everybody is after you, you know. Especially those who go buying a flat for you.
Hmm. George nodded, his eyes fixed on Andre. When will the rest of the furniture arrive?
It should be here in three or four days. Theyre shipping it over from France, and orders at the place are all backed up through these next few days. Andres gaze was as unwavering as Georges was, and the two remained, gazes locked like that, for a few moments.
Lovely. George walked back to the room with the piano, and walked over to the large window that had a view of the city below.
How much did this all cost?
Andre smiled again, with that same marble smile. I cant tell you. Youd insist on paying me back the full amount, and Im not going to have you go through all the trouble to pay me back for a
he paused, searching for the right words
George eyed him again, his brow furrowing. Im afraid I dont quite believe this is just a favor. What do you need, Andre?
Nothing. The grin dropped from Andres face, and he took his hands and opened his palms towards his companion. I gave this to you as a favor. A favor, George. I expect nothing in return. If I expected something in return, I wouldnt have called it a favor. I would have called it a trade.
There was a moment of silence between them as George turned away from Andre and gazed out the large window. George coughed. Dont kid yourself, Andre. You came here to do me this favorhe marked the quotation marks in the air with his fingerswait for me to get over my suspicion, because you know how I am with you, and then use this to coax me into doing you a favoragain with the gesturein return. It would be best just to skip the formalities of waiting those few months to convince me it wasnt all planned from the beginning, and go on and get to asking me for whatever it is youve gone through all this trouble for.
Silence. George turned back around to face Andre. Andres face has twisted into a grotesque expression, and his mouth struggled for words. It took a few moments for Andre to find the words.
Iyour sister. I want tomarry her. George had never seen Andre at a loss for words, and this coupled with the news he had just received left George in a similar state. Andre felt foolish, and, ashamed of himself, he turned away from George.
A ridiculous request, I know. I shouldnt have mentioned it, Silence. I think
had you given me the few months to think about it, I wouldnt have asked.
How long has this
been going on?
Andre paused, furrowing his eyebrows. Three.
George turned back to the window. After a long pause, he asked, What do you intent to do once youve gotten your prize?
Its not like that
Like hell its not!
George! Of course its not! Im a changed man, George, cliché as that might
Forget about it. Three goddamned years and you dont even bother to drop a hint that
Quieter, this time, Andre said, Its not like we didnt want to, George.
Like hell you wanted to! You could have let me know at any time that this whole affair was going on!
You would have reacted just the same. She was afraid you would
condemn us immediately. Neither of us wanted
Youd rather risk mewere almost brothersfor this empty chase? What if she knows about
she does. This past year Im a changed man, George. I told you that already. This isnt just some
Thats what they always say.
But thats not what they always mean. I mean this, George.
They fell silent again.
George, I think shed want to speak with you.
Damn you both.
Andre made his way for the door, and when he was halfway there, he looked back at his companion. George
Go on. Leave. George didnt move.
Make me a promise.
Call her tomorrow. Tell her I kept my promise: I told you.
A pause. Maybe.
Please. Try not to be angry with her.
Its not her youre afraid Im angry at.
Andre paused, this time, before saying, Youre right.
Andre opened the door, throwing one glance over his shoulder as he stepped out into the hall. Think it over, George.
The door closed.