Mr. Bauer, whom Astrid had met only briefly once before, had been an investor in Maxxim Industries for years and had advised her mother in the past. He waited, smiling at the front door for them. He was of medium height and heavy set— one would have more likely called him beefy or stout than fat. The greying hair around his ears contrasted with the bald dome on top of his head. He was dressed in a suit, but without the tie.
“Hello there, Astrid! So fantastic to see you again! You’re about twice as tall as I remember.”
“Nice to see you again, Mr. Bauer. This is my friend Christopher Harris.”
“Hello Chris.” Bauer shook both of their hands violently. “You must both call me Max. Come along inside. The misses is literally dying to meet you.”
“I hope not literally,” said Christopher, who had never much liked being called Chris.
Astrid shot him a glance as they followed Mr. Bauer into his home. The very large entry way led into a very large living room. Both rooms were filled with furniture, all of which was very ornate and looked very expensive. The walls were covered with art. Compared to Astrid’s home, where with the exception of the family room it was not unusual for a room to have only a single picture on the wall, this looked like a museum or an art showroom.
“Here’s my jewel now,” said Mr. Bauer, as his wife appeared from a back room.
Mrs. Bauer was a gorgeous African American woman at least six inches taller than her husband and about half his age. She hopped over to Astrid and took her hand excitedly.
“I’m so so glad to meet you, Astrid! I just think you’re fabulous!”
“Thanks. This is my friend Christopher.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Christopher. “You look really familiar.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Christopher, though I confess Astrid, I was hoping you would bring your robot girl, since I played one in a movie once.”
“Invasion of the Robo-Girls!” said Christopher, snapping his fingers. “I knew you looked familiar.”
“Yes, that was a great film,” said Mrs. Bauer. “I’m not acting anymore though. I might like to direct.”
“She’s very talented,” said Mr. Bauer. “Come, come. Let’s all go into the dining room. Dinner is almost ready, I think.”