WRIT LARGE: Ch 2, Part 2
East meets West
“I’d like to introduce you to my dear friend Leann. I hope you don’t mind. She is a wonderfully talented writer, and I’ve suggested to her that she could learn so much being a part of the syndicate.
Leann is demure and almost sheepish.
She doesn’t have the same confident personality that Ivana and Kable have, which may have come as a result of them being on a reality show together, or more likely points to good casting of larger than life characters. But I gather that Leann is not to be taken lightly. Her face tells me she has seen a lot in her young life.
“Thank you so much for seeing me. I must confess to being a huge fan of your work. I hope you are going to work with Ivana. It would mean so much to her and me. I’d like to take some time to convince you to allow me into the syndicate as an author.”
I see that I’ve been doubly played by these women. They both want to be involved, but I was yet to determine who’s desire was the greatest.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that now,” she smiles. “What I’d like to do is invite you to spend a few days with me in my beloved Singapore before you head home. I realise this has been a long trip for you already and another detour may be a bit much to ask.”
I wonder what my wife will say about this invite. Will she think it sounds suspect and that Leann really wanted to get in my pants.
“However, I will make it worth your while, I promise you. Let me explain. I want to put you up at the Marina Bay where you can consider it a writing retreat during the day and then, in the evenings, I’ll show you a bit of my world and introduce you to my writing and thoughts for a series of books.”
I see she is serious. It strikes me that meeting Ivana has, all along, been meant to smooth the way for this introduction. Leann has the greater desire. But did that mean Ivana saw me as one of her playthings. Fun for a while, only to be tossed out and forgotten soon enough. I was a player too and could both work with them and ensure I wasn’t left by the wayside at some point.
I tell Leann that Singapore is one of the ways I can travel to get home. I love the pool at the Marina Bay, in fact I spent a week at it a few years ago and I’m open to exploring with you if you will be a good fit for us. A friend of Ivana goes a long way in my estimation.
“That’s fantastic,” said Ivana.
Leann relaxes and smiles. “Thank you so much.”
Ivana wants to celebrate.
“Do you have a signet ring for the syndicate?”
I’d thought of doing them at one point as I had a signet ring engraved with my family crest my father had given me. However, I’d never gotten around to it, so I shake my head.
“Let me take you to my favorite jeweller in Paris, no, in the whole world, and see if there is a piece that works for you.”
The three of us bundle into a waiting Rolls Royce stretch limo and head for Place Vendome. Boucheron is empty when we walk in. There are three sales associates on hand, but no members of the public. Was this Ivana’s influence at work?
From the back of the store an elegant woman walks over and smiles, at me.
“I am Clair Choisne, creative director. I’d like to show you our latest histoire de style, an Art Deco piece. I went through our archives and extracted the line, the simplicity and the exuberant spirit of a time when style was about one thing only, attitude. We believe it is the perfect echo to modern-day men and women.”
She directs us to a cabinet and takes out a beautiful signet ring, which contains a massive emerald set in an octagonally-shaped design constituted of white gold.
“We’ve used the octagonal design of this place, Place Vendome, which we were the first jeweller to move into two hundred years ago, mapped to the precision of its cobblestones.”
Ivana says, “I thought this would make the perfect signet for the syndicate. If you like it, I’ll buy five now and you can decide who gets one.”
I tell Ivana that would be wonderful and tell Clair the design is breathtaking.
“Try it on,” says Ivana.
I do and it is such a bold statement. There is nothing like it in the world.
“You will accept, then?” Ivana looks at me hopefully.
Who can resist such a generous offer and those inquiring eyes.
I nod enthusiastically.
“Great, consider it a sealing of our deal.”
I knew that Ivana was the type of person who worked on trust and trust alone. Contracts were like time to her, a mere insignificance. There was no need to seal our deal as such, but it was a wonderfully thoughtful touch, which she had clearly pre-arranged.
The woman thought like a chess player. I imagined she would be quite formidable as an opponent, behind the chess board or not.
I turn to Clair and ask if the ring has a name?
“Oui, indeed it does. We call it Chevaliere Emeraude.”
“How very Dumas. How very three musketeers,” says Leann. “If I remember correctly a ‘chevalier’ was the equivalent of a knight in France, which is what they were.”
“That is so,” confirms Clair, “but in French this also translates to signet ring.”
“You may continue to wear that one if it fits and we will have the others sent to you via our Sydney store if that is all right with you.”
I tell her it fits perfectly.
We head back to the Plaza where the three of us are staying. Leann asks if I’d like to leave that evening. It sounds like a good idea and we agree to meet in the lobby at nine o’clock. I don’t enquire how we will be flying, but expect I won’t be disappointed.
I hug Ivana and thank her profusely for putting her trust in me. We will be in touch within a fortnight to begin the work on her project.
I am not disappointed. Leann’s Ferrari drives right up under the nose of a private jet.
“Let’s go, Singapore!” She gets out of the car and greets the smiling staff as we board.
“Make yourself comfortable,” she says.
“I thought we could chat over dinner and then we can retire to the cabins for some shut eye before we arrive in Singapore.”
“Can I offer you some non-alcoholic French red wine?”
I tell her that would be delicious. We settle in with our glasses as the jet begins to take off.
It’s a rather large private jet and unlike some I’ve been on, our ascent is surprisingly smooth.
“I’m still getting used to having this jet at my absolute beck and call,” she says.
Whimsical and retrospective.