Astrid Maxxim and her High-Rise Air Purifier – Chapter 4 Excerpt

“At least I’m not the only one trying to get caught up,” Astrid told herself.  Then remembering her earlier conversation with Denise, she texted, “Would you send me your brother’s phone number, please?

Denise sent the number, and Astrid tapped the link.  It rang five times, and she was just about ready to hang up when it was answered.  She immediately recognized the voice as Denise’s brother, whom Astrid had known since she was in elementary school.

“Enough already, Redwood,” he said.  “It’s not funny anymore.”

“Um, Dennis?”

“Who is this?”

“It’s Astrid.  You know… Denise’s friend.”

“Hi, Astrid,” Dennis laughed.  “I know who you are.  You’re world famous, you know, so being a friend of my sister is hardly the most obvious descriptor for you.”

“So, who’s Redwood?” wondered Astrid.

“Oh, he’s this guy that lives in my dorm.  His real name is Morris, but we call him Redwood because he’s from someplace called Redwood City.  He’s been on my case since school started because I mentioned that I know you.  Of course, he doesn’t believe it.”

“Gosh, Dennis,” said Astrid.  “I would hate to be the cause of you being bullied.  Maybe I could find a picture of us together and send it.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said.  “I’ve got plenty of pictures of us from when we went to Spain last year, including a very embarrassing one of you spilling paella.  I just don’t feel like showing them to him.”

“Wouldn’t it shut him up?”

“I’m sure he would find something else to annoy me about,” said Dennis.  “Anyway, enough about him.  Why are you calling me, Astrid?  Is Denise in some kind of trouble again?  She didn’t get a tattoo or anything, did she?”

“No,” laughed the girl inventor.  “She did mention though that you were having second thoughts about your major.”

“I guess that’s fair to say.  I just had this realization that, while I love drawing and design, I’m never going to be as good a designer as my father.”

“Dennis, you don’t know that.  He’s probably way better now than he was at your age.”

“Oh, he is.  But I’ve looked at designs he made when he was still on college.  They’re amazing.  It’s a lot to live up to.  I know you understand, Astrid, because your Dad’s a genius.  But in a lot of ways, you’ve already surpassed him.  How would you feel if you thought you never could?”

“I guess I’d feel pretty conflicted.  I’ll bet that’s how children of many of history’s great achievers must feel.  So, what are you going to do?”

“Well, I haven’t made any firm decisions about anything yet.  I’m going to weigh my options and think about it.  After all, this is only my sophomore year at the university.  I may go into architecture or it may be something else.  I’m more fortunate than most students.  My dads can afford to support my education, whatever I decide.”

“It sounds like you have a plan,” said Astrid.  “I just want you to know, Dennis, that there will always be a place at Maxxim Industries for you, whether as an architect or a designer, or something else.”

“Thanks, Astrid.  I appreciate that.  Just remember, I’m not responsible for anything my sister does to you in the meantime.”

“I should be saying that to you.  According to her, I’m always trying to ruin her life.  Anyway, Dennis, it was great to talk to you.”

“You too, Astrid.  Thanks for calling.  Bye.”

“Bye.”