10th April 1563
A dream he achieved. A lean young man, with wild curly black hair worn short, looked with his hazel eyes at the finished building. His silver ear studs gleamed in the sunlight. Wide, with places being lent out to tenants and beginning to pick up in business. A beautiful view, brought back to life.
He went up through the staircase, entered his office, and then took a seat. Lying back, gazing at the artwork, he adorned his office. The time was around nine. He was about to start with his business. He just needed to have some coffee, that he would have called his secretary who would have been busy arranging with his meetings.
He went to make his own coffee, not wishing to dwell on the expense he doled to renovate this place, and how he had to earn it back promptly.
Beyond just loaning the place out to tenants, since he would make everything back in a decade. But that would not be his method, he was too impatient for it.
The door opened, Annibale turned around to see the visitor, while continuing to drink his coffee. His secretary, Ezio, entered his new office. A man with black hair parted at the center and keen brown eyes, being around seven years older than Annibale. He was always all over the room or on the planner, standing right before his boss.
“I sorted everything as your wishes, look at your schedule for the week.” In the instant, all he could look forward to was a busy week. Annibale flipped through it and then set it down.
“Did you even read any of it?”
“Not at all, I’ll wait for them to surprise me personally.” He gave a grin to Ezio. His gut feeling was something that he relied upon when he was doing any form of business, although he rarely neglected to do his background checks upon those that he felt good about. He crossed his legs.
“I’ll go to get them,” he said.
“Is there anything on your mind?” Annibale asked his secretary.
“Well, you do not seem to be excited about this.”
“I could, but almost all of them would try to convince me of their greatness, in their speech and their reports. Much easier to listen to them over reading their words.”
Ezio took this moment to roll his own eyes, but left him alone afterwards.
“But you still need to make sure they know what they’re doing.”
“I can always do it after, when I decided it. Takes much less effort and more thorough too.”
“If that is your wish,” Ezio said. He turned around, closing the door and leaving the office.
Annibale looked at the stack of papers, warning neither to touch nor to think about them. Maybe he could call these meetings off. Today, he just wanted to savor in his glory. Unfortunately, it was decided, and he didn’t want to cancel.
He hasn’t felt like this, not even when his furniture business was thriving. This was diversifying his sources of income, upon the suggestion of Renata, his former guardian and now mentor. He should be excited, but he could not even try to muster up the interest to do anything.
He looked up as the door opened; they were coming in. Annibale worried as he was unprepared to meet with them. And neither was he in the mood to wrap his head around a proposal in just a couple of minutes. But he must. He was a capitalist. This was what he should do from the very beginning.
His eyes settled onto a duo, a woman with dark brown hair and brown eyes, with a kerchief tied on her hair. She walked in right next to a man with straight black hair, unlike Annibale’s whom swore to never let it grow until it could cover his eyes. They both walked before him, even as Annibale was torn between looking straight into their eyes to acknowledge them or to further to do it.
He tried to pick up any clues. Neither of them dressed particularly well, not that he expected to. The man was wearing a sack coat; the material was likely cotton and not as fine as even his cheapest suit that he would never wear to this. He turned to notice her. She had an apron on. This was perhaps a further suggestion that they were likely something with food.
Maybe he should have just gave him and at least do a rudimentary look into the proposal, no matter how much his mind protested it. He gave a smile and then invited them to take a seat. He looked to see Ezio, placing coffee on the table and then excusing himself. The only thing which improved his mood in this situation.
“As you know, Signore de Moreni, I am Amara Endrizzi and I run a cafe, this is my partner, Michaelangelo Carrara. We need a loan from you. We have some goals that you would enjoy.”
“Although I gave it a read through, I would like to hear it from you. Words rarely illustrate conviction when compared to listening directly to the proprietor,” Annibale said. Writing was for the writers, poets and academics who seek to preserve their knowledge.
While he could wait and then take a moment to gauge how they acted.
“Last year was a good year for our business, and we would think expansion is the next step in a logical process,” she explained, her voice smooth and radiating confidence. “We plan to think about opening a second shop, but our current focus is to expand the menu apart from the seasonal offerings that we had.”
Some of it was a correct guess on his part when he saw their direction, remembering how Renata always spoke of her restaurants. They were changing the menu or the shop.
Although he was clearer with Amara than Michaelangelo. She owned the business and likely came up with most of the ideas in the proposal. Michaelangelo was her partner, and will follow her, but his role was far less clear in this, even when bringing in input.
“I would like to know your reasons for this proposal.”
“I own the cafe, it was my father’s, but he left it to me upon his death since I worked in it almost all my life, and it was a place that was the center of discussion, a refuge for all people to discuss, at the price of a cup of coffee.”
This was a mission that Amara would continue on, and that was something Annibale could appreciate greatly when looking for an investment.
One suggested that she won’t back down; however, she won’t know when something is futile. That would be a trait he had to see whether it was tempered and whether she could show results.
“I spent plenty of time in such cafes, I get what you mean. It’s where scholars, poets and many artists come to chat and work in relative peace. In the side there may be a businessman who is negotiating their deals or making connections. I have done that too,” Annibale replied.
“When did he create it?” Annibale asked. He had a reasonable suspicion to place it during the days of the Republic, before the kingdom and before the unification. Not to say that none were created after, it was just that it remained at the heart of political discourse, as much as academic discussions continued there.
“Around thirty years ago, my father started this cafe.” she said with a smile. “My parents met during the early days of the revolution, when my mother remarked on his poor coffee but complimented his exquisite taste in decor and atmosphere. I was born a couple years after that.”
“Quite a story,” Annibale said. He smiled at her, liking the touch that she gave. It was something that helped him see why it was so.
And now, it was to her partner. He has seen little of Michaelangelo’s capabilities. There had to be something that made him her partner other than his education. Otherwise, it would cast doubt on her ability to read people.
“I joined her because I didn’t have a better option. I didn’t find a job. But I knew how to bake and I enjoyed it,” he said. “We were good friends, since I used to go to her place all the time just to study for the tests. She loved my treats and complimented me countless times. After a long while of being unable to find work, she came with an offer for me.”
“The doors open sometimes at your unluckiest days. I have to admit that it was the same for me,” he said.
“It was also because you always brought them to me to try, and I thought that if you couldn’t find work, I’ll be willing to offer you one,” she said.
They both eased up, Michaelangelo leaning a bit in and on Amara perhaps he could see a smile. This was a warmup, as he would delve deeper into grilling them.
Annibale admitted that this was a fairly good idea. He saw the potential now, after a while. However, Annibale would still need to confirm all of this on his own. He could never rely on their word alone. So far it was an upward trend, and they could explain all of them.
This was a seasonal business. He understood them. There were periods which would see a great deal more people in the shop. Clear that during the fall and the winter there was an upward trajectory, even as it was explained by Michaelangelo. His explanation was close to he would get from a professional bookkeeper.
Annibale was finally understanding just why he was here, he could do the math. Also, it told him that he was likely trained in it too.
Colleges accepted from a wider range of people these days; it used to be educating the sons of wealthy merchants or nobles. Now, it also plucked the brightest of the entire country, not just those with the best connections.
His speech also showed a truth to his background. And thus made them both much more credible in his eyes. It helped to convince him, although he didn’t know what exactly he could offer than other than money.
They would probably need help, and it could reduce his own risk. However, the person he was asking was none other than Renata. Breaking the question to her would be the easiest part of the pitch. Once that was done, she would grill you with vigour. Relentless in her pursuit until they satisfied her questions, without caring whether the person would burst into tears or go off angry.
But he believed in them. He thought this was a good deal. However, there were a lot of chances where this could be a complete failure, and it was one that he could help if he could introduce the right person to increase their odds of success, and hence the chance of him turning a profit in this.
She would not question that line of thought if it existed.
“I have a proposition for you. I can give you the money, but I think that isn’t just it. If it was just me, I do not think I can help you as best as I can when compared to someone that could.” Annibale knew it, he was eager, but he didn’t think for a moment that he could be called familiar with this or even an expert. “Do you want to increase your own chances?”
“I need to discuss a little with my partner, or rather we should meet again, with the person you proposed as a partner,” the woman said to him. Straight into his eyes.
“Of course, I’ll be willing to do this again, some other time,” Annibale replied. “I’ll have my secretary be in touch.”
“Then, we shall meet again,” Michaelangelo said, standing up and just about to leave. Knowing that it hasn’t begun yet. Amara didn’t, there was still a bit that they needed to sort out.
“How about at my cafe?” Amara suggested to him.
“Let me check for a moment, since she will also be busy and it would be more difficult. She would likely be at her restaurant,” Annibale said, with much ease. She would make it a demand. “Why make such a request?”
“It’s a straightforward answer for a cafe, you can tell whether I’m lying just by seeing the customers,” she said.
Michaelangelo looked at her, perhaps with some bewilderment, especially at such a suggestion.
“You’re bold, she’ll like that too. So do I actually, no better way to dispel any doubt other than a display of capability,” he said.
“Then I shall take my leave, but I hope to get an answer by next Monday.” Amara stood up, clarifying that she would wait, but only for a short time. However, it was more than enough for Annibale to convince her, he was sure of it.
Ezio had opened the door in anticipation of their leaving. And not even grumbling when they did. Just hold it all out and then they would leave. Once they were gone, things were tense between them.
“How did that work out for you?”
“It was foolish of me,” he said with a sigh. As he now focused almost all of his attention straight on the papers preparing for the next pitch. “Also, send a telegram to Signora de Moreni, I need to meet her to discuss.”
“I’ll get to it,” Ezio said, “Before I forget, the next one said that they will run late, they ran into a slight mishap.”
He would have more time. Annibale would consider it a good thing. He read the next business that was being brought to him, not even noticing the door closing.