His parents provided Maxim with everything they could: toys, expensive appliances, clothes from famous brands, gave him a luxury car for coming of age, and bought him his own apartment for twenty years.
In return, the guy showed great hopes in the field of continuing the family business, planned to replace his father in his post when it became too difficult for him, but for now he was content with the position of deputy. Maxim managed to grasp everything on the fly, at the same time he studied at the university with a degree in management and personnel management. In short, Maxim did everything in his power, his parents were proud of the successes of their child, and Maxim himself was not at all modest – he boasted that at 25 he already had everything that many people dream of at 40.
In general, Maxim was a good man, but overconfident and sometimes even arrogant. However, in the conduct of business, this did not interfere with him in any way, but on the contrary. One day Maxim went to a restaurant with his father’s business partner, it was necessary to settle some points in the contract, and this is best done on a full stomach. Oleg Gennadievich could not meet with his partner himself, because he suddenly fell ill, so he decided to lie down, and at the same time see how his son would cope with such a situation.
Mikhail Alekseevich, the same business partner, initially reacted with disbelief and even some resentment to the fact that instead of Oleg Gennadievich he sees his son, but after a great dinner and several glasses of fine wine, he changed his mind.
— Maxim, you are perfectly able to smooth out sharp corners, — Mikhail Alekseevich grinned.
— Thank you for the compliment, — the guy smiled. – It remains only to sign a new contract, and then you can go on vacation.
— Yes, yes, of course. At first, the conditions seemed to me slightly infringing on my interests, but you managed to show me my benefits… So I’m happy with the contract now. The only thing I really liked was this wine. Would you like to have another glass before we finish our communication and sign a new contract? – Mikhail Alekseevich was no longer in the mood for quarrels and scrupulous verification of each ruble of his own income, so it was possible to relax.
Maxim nodded and called the waitress, asking for another glass of wine. The girl wrote down their order with a smile and went to the bar.
The waitress’s name was Kristina, and at the moment all she wanted was for these two snobs to leave as soon as possible. Of course, their restaurant often hosted such businessmen, but these two were too nasty. The younger one had no manners, no upbringing, constantly beckoning Kristina with a snap of his fingers. Is she a dog? Yes, and this manner of communication «servant – master» also did not like the girl at all.
— Sasha, the order. Two more glasses for Mister’s table, business son,» Kristina snorted, handing the check to the bartender.
— Why are you so fixated on them? Well, they’re discussing some piece of paper of their own, so every second one is doing it here,» the bartender said, opening a bottle of wine and pouring the drink into glasses.
— That’s not the point. This little guy behaves like he’s the king of the world,» Kristina grimaced.
«Maybe it is,» Sasha grinned. – Your job is simple: bring them an order, smile and leave.
«I can handle that, but I’d like them to leave as soon as possible,» Kristina sighed, putting the glasses on the tray. «I bet he won’t leave a single ruble tip.
The girl was already approaching the table and pulled on a smile on duty, when suddenly Maxim abruptly got up from his seat and turned around. She could not have known that just a second before this movement, the guy warned his business partner that he was going to call his sick father back.
— I didn’t hear the call, I should have asked if something serious had happened.
To which, of course, Mikhail Alekseevich nodded understandingly and promised not to be bored, because the wine was already being carried. At the same second, Maxim’s shoulder and Kristina’s elbow collided. The tray, as if in slow motion, turned over, the glasses of course broke, and the wine itself turned out to be on Maxim’s expensive suit.
— Oh, shit! Maxim was swearing.
Kristina turned pale and mechanically tried to correct the situation by grabbing a napkin and wiping the spreading stains from the guest’s shirt and jacket.
— My God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry … — the girl muttered a memorized phrase.
And it doesn’t matter that the clumsy guest was to blame, the client is always right.
— This suit costs like four of your salaries, — Maxim hissed softly so that his business partner would not hear the note of greed in his voice.
«Excuse me, please…» said Kristina again. – I think the administration will be able to pay for dry cleaning…
— What kind of dry cleaning? That’s it, the suit is dead,» Maxim said gloomily. – Well, the staff was recruited, thank you for not turning it hot on my head.
«I’m sorry,» Christina said for the last time.
— Invite the administrator, this is some kind of disgrace, — the guy took her hands away and went to the toilet.
«What a bastard!» thought Kristina, picking up the glass fragments from the floor.
After all, the guest himself abruptly got up and literally knocked the damn tray out of her hands. And now she has to listen to a reprimand from her superiors. The day was clearly not a good one. The girl has just noticed that the wine is too light, and it tingles her hand. Turning her palm to herself, Kristina barely restrained a cry of horror, the girl was so shocked by what was happening that she completely did not notice a huge piece of glass that somehow ended up in her palm. Blood was flowing profusely from the wound, and the floor was still untidy.
According to the rules of the institution, Kristina had to first eliminate the mess that happened due to her mistake, and then only deal with her own problems. She still didn’t feel any pain, obviously, the very sight of the wound made her go into a state of shock again, so the girl quickly swept the fragments into a dustpan and went to the back room. After getting rid of the broken glass, Kristina looked at her palm again. Now the arm was swollen and throbbing violently. Tears appeared in the girl’s eyes, and she went to the administrator.
«Jeanne, one of the guests wants to see you,» Kristina said through clenched teeth. – And I need to leave.
— what? Why is that? There is still a lot of time before the end of the shift… Oh my God! – the receptionist looked up from the computer and noticed the blood dripping from the waitress’s palm. – Christina! How did it happen?
«I broke the wine glasses, here,» the girl sobbed.
— Go, of course, there’s a trauma center nearby. Should I walk you to the exit, at least? Jeanne asked.
— No, don’t, I’ll call a taxi. You will have a very «pleasant» conversation with a guest without my problems, whom I poured this wine over along the way,» Kristina tried to be persistent and not think about the fact that her hand already hurts very much, and the blood does not clot.
— I hope there is no glass in the guest? The receptionist asked seriously, but Kristina only grinned hysterically.
— Yes, it would be better!.. He also pushed me. But unfortunately, there is only wine on it. On a suit that costs like 4 of my salary, as he himself put it. Okay, I’ll go, tomorrow I’ll come to hear about my crookedness … — Jeanne followed the waitress with her eyes.
There have never been such situations with Kristina before, apparently, the guest is really special. In the emergency room, the girl had 9 stitches, they wanted to give her a sick leave, but Kristina needed to work and earn money. It is a pity that the right hand, the working one, was injured. Now you can’t write notes normally, or you won’t lift much weight at work. But what can I do, I’ll have to get out somehow.
Kristina’s parents were only able to give her a start in life, then a disaster happened to dad at a construction site, and he was left disabled. All the money that Mom earned went to expensive procedures and supportive therapy. And, to be honest, my mother’s salary was not enough. So Kristina had to save on everything to help her father. She had to study at the institute for another year, only after that she would be able to get a job in her specialty. In the meantime, I had to work as a waitress and endure such an attitude towards myself.
While Kristina was receiving the necessary medical care, Zhanna approached Maxim, introduced herself as an administrator. By that time, Mikhail Alekseevich managed to get a new portion of wine, drink his glass, praise the evening, despite a little trouble. Maxim said he would wait for that waitress to, so to speak, explain to her the rules of good manners. Dinner, of course, at Maxim’s expense. Mikhail Alekseevich shrugged his shoulders, thanked him for the food and a pleasant pastime, and then left.
— Do you have any problems? Jeanne asked after introducing herself.
— Yes, there are. Take a look at my suit,» Maxim threw back the sleeve of the beige jacket lying next to him.
Wine stains are almost not lightened, dry cleaning is unlikely to cope with them. The stains from the drink were both on the shirt and on the trousers. And even the light shoes suffered. In a word, the guest was doused all over. It was as if not an unfortunate glass had been spilled, but a whole barrel.
«Oh, I’m sorry about that. Unfortunately, all our restaurant can do for you is to treat you to dinner.
— Of course, I was counting on it, but there is something else you can do, — the guest brazenly declared.
— What is it? Jeanne asked.
— Isn’t it obvious? You have to fire this sloppy girl! Maxim declared irritably. – She will smear all the guests, someone will be less lucky next time, and hot soup will be spilled on them, for example.
«We will take the necessary measures,» Jeanne replied with restraint.
— Yes, I know these measures! Maxim frowned. – Unless you write out a bonus. No, I want her fired immediately.
— Let me make this decision, the owner of the restaurant, — the administrator was still patiently explaining to the unpleasant guest.
— Then call me the owner, — Maxim crossed his arms over his chest.
«I’m afraid that’s impossible,» Jeanne’s tone changed. – Firstly, I do not recall that you and I switched to informal communication, and secondly, the owner of the restaurant is currently absent from this institution.
— What a diner, — the guest swore and laughed. – Then they are rude, then they pour… have you looked at the check from the state for a long time? Have you not visited Rospotreb? We’ll arrange it that way.
— We have done everything possible for you, if you have no more comments … — Jeanne began, but the guest interrupted her:
— Yes there is! But you’re not listening, you’ve said the same thing because… oh, sorry, lady, I forgot that you and I didn’t switch to informal communication, and in this restaurant, God forgive me, they don’t pay attention to the guests at all, as if we were the servants here.
«Please leave our restaurant,» Jeanne said in an iron tone.
She remembered that only the owner of the establishment could say that, but she had to take some measures. The guests had already started to turn around and talk discontentedly – Maxim interfered with the rest of other people, which means it was necessary to ask him to go out.
— Excuse me? Maxim craned his neck in disbelief. – That is, I was doused here, rude, rude, and now they want to throw me out?!
— I am very sorry that your evening was not a success. We do not ask for payment for meals, but you are interfering with the rest of other guests. We have already done everything in our power. There is nothing more we can do to help you.
— Outrage!.. Maxim hissed. – I’ll deal with your diner, you don’t know who you’ve contacted yet. I’ll close it – and you won’t have time to blink an eye!
«Your right, of course,» Jeanne agreed.
She no longer wanted to deal with a capricious guest.
— What was the name of this waitress? I need her personal data,» Maxim said, rising abruptly and almost repeating the situation with Kristina.
Now it was clear to the administrator how the girl had injured her hand and spilled this wine. In general, it seemed that the guy now deliberately tried to push the administrator.
— I have no right to disclose the data of our employees. I can say that her name is Kristina,» Jeanne replied.
— Then invite me the waitress who served me. I want to talk to her personally before I leave — Maxim planned to find out the name and surname of the girl, maybe take a photo to take care of her negative reputation.
Through acquaintances in the restaurant business, Maxim was going to protect the girl who doused him from work for a long time. Sooner or later she will quit, so let her work as a cashier, not a waiter.
— Unfortunately, I can’t do that either. Kristina went to the emergency room,» Jeanne replied.
— How to the emergency room? Maxim was a little taken aback. – What happened?
«She cut her hand badly while trying to save your evening,» Jeanne replied, not without a malicious shade.
She wanted to hurt this insolent man. And, it seems, she succeeded. The guest now looked absolutely confused, although a few seconds ago he was ready to level the restaurant to the ground, and leave Kristina out of the restaurant business for the rest of her life, at least in this city.
— Oh… That’s bad luck … — Maxim rubbed his neck. – I’m sorry that I got so excited. I didn’t know that the girl had hurt herself while I was scolding her. You know, I don’t need a free dinner,» the guy pulled a few bills out of his pocket without looking and put them on the table. I’m just asking like a human being.
«I don’t know,» Jeanne said, a little confused.
She did not expect such an act from such a person. But, as you know, Maxim was not so bad and spoiled.
— Got it. Okay, sorry for the inconvenience. All the best, — the guy said goodbye and went to the exit, leaving the confused administrator near the table.
On the street, Maxim approached his car with a driver. Sitting down in the salon, he immediately opened the map.
— Listen, Dim, do you know where the emergency room is here? Maxim asked.
— No, Maxim Olegovich. «Is something wrong?»
— You never know anything, — Maxim muttered, showing the phone with the card to the driver. – Let’s go.
Dmitry did not ask unnecessary questions. They said to go, so we’re going. When the driver parked, Kristina was just getting out with her arm bandaged. Maxim immediately recognized the girl and rushed to her like a bullet.
— Christina! – he called out to the girl.
She turned around and saw a recent guest hurrying towards her.
Christina clicked her tongue, but remained in place.
Fortunately, now they were on equal civil rights, and it was possible to tell this bastard everything she thought about him in the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Maxim caught up with her and now looked at the bandage, then at the girl with bewilderment. In the restaurant, of course, he did not notice that the waitress was quite attractive.
– Did you want to add something? Kristina asked.
— Um, I’m really embarrassed.… I had no idea that you… You suffered while trying to eliminate the consequences of … this awkwardness, — Maxim usually did not get into his pocket for a word, so now he was surprised at himself, but the inflamed Kristina was definitely not going to mumble.
— So it was you who pushed me. So there is no need to be shy, you need to speak directly: these were the consequences of your awkwardness.
— I’m sorry if I’m really to blame for what happened… but shouldn’t a waiter be able to, I don’t know, dodge, or something? – the guy asked with a silly smile.
— Yeah, of course, they teach us this right after maneuvering courses, between tables at rush hour, — Kristina sarcastically threw. – You have an unimportant idea about the preparation of waiters. It just doesn’t exist.
— Well … — Maxim stubbornly did not want to admit his guilt, after all, he had a slightly inflated sense of self-esteem.
And he sincerely believed that Christina herself ran into his shoulder.
– Let me make up for this problem. How would you like to have dinner with me next week, for example?
— Oh, no, thank you, — Christina lifted her aching hand. – I had enough.
— Well, I invite you as a companion.
— Yes, you never know, suddenly some kind of awkwardness will happen again, — the girl chuckled.
— I see, — Maxim smiled.
He liked the angry Kristina very much, she seemed so cute, but at the same time she turned out to be not a weak-willed rag, but a girl with a character.
«For sure, she will agree to move into a private setting pretty quickly anyway. After all, the waitress is no stranger,» the guy thought.
He already had concrete plans for Kristina, and he was not going to back down from them. After all, I’m used to getting everything I want.
— If that’s all, then I think I’ll go. I wish you to be more careful in the future,» Kristina said, not waiting for the continuation.
— Wait, — Maxim came to his senses. – If you don’t want to go to a restaurant with me, then at least let’s meet at the theater.
— Hmm, — Christina thought.
Maxim was a very attractive young man, in her taste. At least outwardly. Here is the character, of course, greatly pumped up, but maybe she just suffers from prejudice? After all, she had read so many novels where the most romantic relationships developed from a similar situation, perhaps it was worth giving him a chance?
– Well, it’s hard to break something in the theater, — the girl gave up.
— Fine. Then as soon as you feel better, here’s my number,» Maxim took out a business card.
Here he pursued two goals: the first, the most obvious, to give a phone number, and the second, more veiled, to introduce himself to Kristina in a favorable light of financial well-being.
– I’ll be looking forward to it.
— I will definitely write or call, — promised Kristina, putting the business card in her pocket and not even looking at her, which slightly upset and surprised Maxim. – Well, we look a little awkward: a man in a suit, with red streaks and a girl with a bandaged arm, near the emergency room. So if you don’t mind, I think I’ll go home.
— Oh, really! Maxim laughed and slapped his forehead. – Let me give you a ride?
— No, that’s enough communication for today, — Christina answered firmly and turned around.
After a couple of weeks, she remembered about Maxim, just because she had stitches removed. The girl didn’t tell her parents anything, but she decided to write to the guy anyway. After thinking about it, Kristina typed a text message:
«Have they already untied me when I go to the theater? Christina.»
After a little more hesitation, I added a laughing smiley face, and then suddenly the guy won’t understand the joke. She received an answer just a few seconds later:
«I’m glad that everything is fine, and you can joke about it. We’re going to the theater tonight, send me the address, I’ll pick you up.»
So the guy remembered about her. Kristina wrote the address and began to wait for the evening.
By 7 o’clock Maxim called her and told her that he was already waiting. Kristina, for the sake of principle, did not go out for another twenty minutes, and when she met a guy, he showered her with compliments.
Kristina was wearing a classic black dress and classic black pumps. Just the thing for going to the theater.
«Yeah,» the girl sighed. – Your eloquence is on the level.
— Believe me, I didn’t even have to try, — Maxim smiled, opening the door for Kristina.
— Have you already developed a professional skill? Christina chuckled.
— Well, if only quite a bit, — today Maxim himself was driving. – Your beauty did the rest.
— And what exactly do you do? – Kristina did not plan to respond to flattery and tried to translate the topic.
«Um… didn’t you look?» It’s written there on the business card,» Maxim was surprised.
— No, I didn’t look. I only found out the number and the name,» Kristina answered honestly, and the guy laughed.
— Well, well. But now I know that you’re definitely not with me for money.
— Hey, slow down, — Kristina was an extremely principled girl. – If you think that I…
«I don’t think anything,» Maxim interrupted her, although that’s exactly what he thought. – I just want to spend a wonderful evening in the company of a beautiful lady. How do you feel about performances in general?
«If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t agree to go,» Kristina shrugged and looked out the window at the lights of the city sinking into darkness passing by. – I really love art.
— Hmm, you know, there will be a new exhibition in the art gallery soon. Don’t you want to go? A closed screening, there won’t be such a thing in the public domain, and I know how to get tickets even now.
«It’s tempting,» Christina smiled.
— Consider that we are already there, — Maxim grinned.
The next month Maxim took Kristina to museums, galleries, theaters. The girl was really delighted, she knew a lot about art and had a refined taste. However, it never went further than a kiss, Kristina deftly evaded some kind of continuation, which caused the guy a lot of problems. However, it was unacceptable for Kristina to go to a more private setting after a few dates. The girl needed to make sure of her own feelings. And there were some problems with that.
Something stubbornly kept the girl from a close relationship with Maxim. Every time it was possible to move on to more intimate actions, Kristina had something similar to a feeling of disgust. It was a very weak feeling to talk about disgust, but the man was not entirely pleasant to her. Nevertheless, Maxim was a great conversationalist, it was very interesting to spend time with him. But Maxim is tired of these children’s kisses. He invited Kristina to a restaurant, with the firm intention of continuing the evening at home or at least in a hotel.
And so, at the end of dinner, when the guy smoothly shifted the topic to a more frank conversation, Kristina again «clamped down» and experienced vague discomfort.
«You’re kind of tense,» the guy remarked.
— Yes, there is a little, — the girl admitted.
— Let’s go to my place? I have a Jacuzzi, you can relax…
Kristina sighed heavily.
«Listen, well, I can’t,» she said with annoyance. – I’m not used to acting like this. I really like talking to you, spending time with you, but I’m not ready yet…
«When will you be ready?» Maxim asked rudely. All the tenderness in his voice disappeared at once.
«I don’t know,» Christina replied.
— Cool! – Maxim loudly hit the bottom of the glass on the countertop. – So I entertained you, took you to theaters and museums, and all I got was a couple of kisses? Kristina, don’t you think that you are, how should I say it, insolent?
— Am I impudent?! – the girl almost choked with indignation.
«Not me,» the guy shrugged.
— So you’ve been trying to get me into bed all this time, and now you’re unhappy that it didn’t work out and accuse me of impudence?!
— Kristinochka, all our wonderful walks under the moon cost a lot of money. So it’s only natural that I want something more than a kiss in return.
Kristina was burning with shame. On the one hand, it would be nice to slap him in the face, and leave on that, but on the other hand there was something in his words. Parents have always taught a girl not to live at someone else’s expense, but it was implied that a man could well take a girl on a date at his own expense. Moreover, Kristina honestly tried to pay for herself, but Maxim himself insisted that he wanted to treat the girl. Now Kristina understood what repelled her in the guy. Although he was handsome, gallant, but Maxim was terribly scrupulous, arrogant, boorish…
And these traits of character were not the only time manifested in the restaurant, when she accidentally ruined his expensive suit, and one could write off his behavior as a bad mood.
— Well, why are you silent? You know, if you think that I haven’t spent enough money on you, then I can still pay you later,» Maxim became completely impudent, feeling that Kristina was stymied by her own thoughts.
«It’s not about the money,» the girl said through gritted teeth.
— Come on, — the guy laughed. – Come on. How much do you want? 10? 50? 100 thousand? How much are you worth?
By this he finally proved that there was nothing romantic in their relationship. Kristina suddenly calmed down and realized what kind of person he really was and what he had been waiting for from the very beginning. Maybe there are novels about happiness and love at random meetings, but it’s not about Maxim.
«If you want to know the price, I’ll name it,» the girl nodded. – With a condition, of course.
— Tell me, — Maxim replied in a commanding tone, feeling that the girl had made up her mind.
«If you can’t pay, you’ll leave me alone.» And you will never call me again, write, search, come to work, and so on.
— If the price is adequate, of course, and not all the money in the world, for example, — the guy grinned.
— Don’t worry. The price is adequate,» smiled Kristina.
Maxim raised an eyebrow.
— Then I agree. Name her,» the guy said.
«Love,» Christina replied simply.
Maxim sat at a loss. What the hell is love? He thought that the girl was smart and would name the exact amount that he would immediately be able to give her, and then finally get what he deserved.
– Well, Max? Can you give me love? It’s easier than all the money in the world, isn’t it? Or is it an unaffordable price for you?
The guy hung his head. He realized that it would not be possible to «buy» Christina, she was really different, special. Come to think of it, she didn’t even know who he was when she was going to the theater with him. Suddenly the guy felt ashamed. After all, from the very beginning he thought of her as another item in his track record.
— I thought so, — the girl chuckled and got up.
– Well, you can tell me how much I owe you for my entertainment, I’ll give it to you. But don’t follow me anymore.
— Wait … — Maxim asked quietly. – I’m very sorry to you. I didn’t see your personality at all, I was only looking at your appearance. I didn’t notice what you really are. You’re right, I’m a bastard. I thought you’d fall for money, like everyone before you… but you’re completely different.
— It’s getting late. I can’t build a relationship with such a person,» Kristina snapped.
— Well. Now I understand that it’s all my fault. But you really are a very interesting girl, maybe we can at least stay friends? – the guy asked hopefully.
— Hardly. We are from different social classes. You are used to spending money on entertainment, and I count every penny to help my family. We have nothing to talk about with you.
— What about art? After all, we found a common language! – the guy didn’t give up.
«You promised you wouldn’t haunt me,» Christina reminded him. «Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going home. Have a nice evening.
The girl did not regret her decision at all. Maxim literally bit his elbows, watching Kristina leave him. He remembered this girl and her lesson for the rest of his life.