Not everything that shines is gold

And an old Crown doesn’t fail

Flavio Musa de Freitas Guimarães
36 min readOct 9, 2023

Republished with corrections and the right video.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

They had been seeing each other for months.

She, half past three in the afternoon on a hot day, in a red strapless dress with yellow boas, a flared skirt just below her knees, yellow sandals, was next to him, a light blue shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, who was talking to two ladies at the door of a gallery.

She was enchanted by his figure, his education, his answers about things she didn’t even understand, witty answers that made them both laugh, she laughed too even if she didn’t understand why they were laughing, she felt something more.

He turned to her (could it be another prey?), smiling, he asked,

─ Do you work at the gallery?

─ No, I came to buy that statuette, and he pointed.

─ It really is a beautiful piece.

The two ladies had no idea that a young girl had so much good taste and so much money; They said goodbye, leaving the two alone.

─ Have you already paid, or do you want to go in and pay?

─ I have already paid and they will deliver it to my house. I enjoyed your chat; Shall we have a drink or a coffee at the café next door?

He nodded with his hand closed and thumb up. After all, she was a beautiful girl.

He pulled out a chair for her at the little table on the catwalk, she ordered a coffee, and so did him. He took out the leather cigarette box.

─ Do you mind if I smoke?

─ No! Could you give me one? I left mine in the car.

They lit the cigarettes, a good puff,

─ What do you work in?

The coffees arrive, she raises the cup and toasts,

─ To our meeting! She toasts

─ To have met you.

─ I’m a History teacher, my name is Apollo, and yours?

─ Talia.

─ Are you the muse of festivity and comedy?

─ Lol! I don’t know if I’m a Muse, but I love parties and mess.

─ You are a beautiful Muse. It must be Erato.

─ I understand mythology; My parents decided to name their children after Greek entities, if they had a man, it’s possible you would have a namesake. And you are also charged with eroticism, with pheromones that reached me from a distance.

─ Are you married?

─ More or less.

─ Perfect!

─ Do you have your car? Talia asks.

─ Yes, it’s that silver Land Rover over there. And he points.

─ Mine is the yellow Lamborghini two more than yours. Do you want to come see my house?

Again closed hand, thumb up.

Then, follow me.

Photo by Bartłomiej Balicki on Unsplash

Wow! It’s a beautiful mansion!

Tália gives three short honks, the guard leaves the guardhouse, opens the gate and the two cars pass by, parking next to the stairs.

Manfred, the butler, opens the door,

They go up the stairs, following her, they cross the hall, a room with a door to the left, crosses another to the right, she opens this door and crosses the 10 meters wide room more than 20 meters long, all covered in a carpet that he identifies as a Persian Isfahan (with this size, it must have cost 30 million or more! He estimates), from which she opens the door on the right, passes through a closed door of about three meters, she turns on the left, cross the dining room, go up the stairs to the second floor; in the hall, opens the door in front, call him, and enter.

He grabs her outstretched hands and pulls her towards him.

Mouth with lips painted purple, joins his, hugging him by the back of the neck; he slowly undresses her, while she carefully unbuttons his shirt…

They woke up at ten at night.

─ Apolo, you make more and better sex than 30-year-old boys! It’s all Apollonian!

─ It’s for you! Never, in my long experience, have I had sex as delicious as such with any other woman.

They took a shower together, dressed in the same clothes,

─ It’s more than dinner time; let’s go down.

─ Mom, this is Apolo, a History teacher.

─ Nice to meet you! Due to your shape, the name is appropriate: Apollonian. Esmeralda says.

─ Nice to meet you! Your name also does you justice: a jewel made as a woman.

They had dinner in the pantry; Euterpe was already asleep.

Tália took him to her Land Rover, a kiss between bodies pressed together,

─ I want to see you again. Where can I find you?

─ You can wait for me in my room at the university’s history and literature faculty, at one; sometimes I assist a student, but at one and ten I will certainly be there.

─ Another night out? Another woman? You are an indomitable, priapic satyr. Says Armenia.

─ Take a shower and come to bed, to satisfy me too.

For four months meeting, at Tália’s house, sometimes she would lead him near his house without Armenia seeing them, on walks, bars, restaurants, hotels… They had sex without him needing to use a condom: her obstetrician changed the IUD annually.

They talked a lot, he listened to her stories, and opinions on life, events, popular music, and politics. He marvelled at how well she understood finance.

He commented on what she said, responding to her curiosity about history, and science … and telling his stories as well.

Big city, but Armenia soon found out and got scared. Apollo’s new conquest was dangerous.

On one Monday, six in the afternoon, in the living room, having returned from a hotel,

─ I want to marry you.

Apollo took three seconds to say,

─ Me too.


In that short time, he knew that he wanted to live his life with Tália, with her joy, her crazy things, with the stories she told, stories she invented, stories and stories that he would also tell when she got older until he died.

Sneaking out for casual sex? If this were to happen, it wouldn’t matter to him or her; what they felt for each other was love, adorned with passion.

Armenia? In the divorce he would leave her house, car and large sum; she was still lush and hot. Soon she would find a boyfriend and get married again. He could also go see her, have sex with her…


─ Moommyee!

Esmeralda comes from the home theatre,

─ We are engaged! We will be married.

─ What a joy! What happiness!

─ Apolo, you can’t even imagine how Sampaio and I thank God for having found this mischievous and unrestrained flirt without ever thinking about getting married!

Euterpe arrives from the theatre, enters singing,

─ Sis! Apollo and I are getting married!

─ I don’t believe it! Is it true?

─ Yes! The two spoke almost at the same time.

─ It’s difficult for Tália to come to her senses, but you’re crazy.

─ I don’t know if I came to my senses, but he’s crazy! Crazy about me.

─ Knowing what you are, I wish I had found this Apollo first.

Euterpe brings a bottle of chilled champagne and four glasses

─ Let’s have an engagement party!

And Esmeralda went to the office to make the list.

─ A toast to the man who will see what it is like to live with Tália!

Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

Even Tália laughed and cheered. Euterpe took a glass to her mother.

─ I copied the New Year’s party list, cut out those who didn’t know how to behave; I’ve already sent messages to everyone, inviting them to dinner, next Thursday, at half past seven; high spring, it's the right season, everything in bloom, good weather.

Apolo thought: For rich people, any day of the week is good for dinners and parties; fewer weekends and holidays, as they go to their farms or, when they feel like it, take a quick trip to New York, Miami, Buenos Aires, Bali… Normal people can also schedule Saturday and Sunday; poor? Only Friday and Saturday. Sunday they have to go to bed early, Monday is a work day.

In the morning, after breakfast, Tália took Apolo close to his house; he now wanted his car to stay at the mansion.

− Aren’t you going to college? Armenia asked.

− Only in the afternoon, I’ll have lunch with you, I’ll help you wash the dishes.

− ?? Well, how strange. She thought.

A conversation like the ones they hadn’t had in a long time, he said that on Thursday next week, he had to attend a Freemasonry dinner,

− Did you become a Freemason?

Apollo laughed,

− No! But I was invited; I’ll see what it is and then I’ll tell you.

Tália and he continued on meetings and trips, they went to other cities. Apolo took the opportunity to ask who went to the parties that his mother invented and promoted.

He was silent; he didn’t like what he had heard.

− What happened?

− I was thinking about how to dress; I have a tuxedo and a blazer, I need to have them washed,

− Bullshit! Tomorrow we are going to buy a new, up-to-date blazer, shirt, tie, cufflinks and new shoes. I want my fiancé to be stunningly handsome. And you’re going with me to help me buy a stunning dress too.

− You are an adorable little madwoman.

The next day, Talia grabbed Apolo and went to Ambrósio Tailoring.

Apollo’s size made the choice difficult.

Tália loved a silver-burgundy blazer jacket, with discreet gold and blue sequins, long narrow black lapels, up to the gold button just above the navel, and pale pink pants with delicate blue vertical stripes.

− It’s too scandalous!

− It’s beautiful. Different but in a fashionable style. You will see what the men will wear: it will not clash with the ensemble; you will only be the most beautiful.

− Yes, exactly the one I made to fit men from one meter six to one meter eight.

− So, please take my fiancé’s measurements,

Apollo didn’t like the way she was imposing this on him. With pursed lips, high eyebrows turned downwards, a face like someone who ate it and didn’t like it, Patience, she thought, it’s something that will pass. Having her by her side was worth some sacrifices.

Ambrose noticed.

− Are you going to get married?

− Well, Ambrósio, it’s about time.

− And I don’t want another man to buy this; If I can’t use the cloth for another piece, I’ll buy it.

− What I can’t use, including the purchase price.

The rest of his clothes were his size: a white silk shirt, plain with small black buttons, a bow tie made from the same fabric as the jacket; black shoes, Prada.

If Apolo can take the test on Saturday morning, everything will be ready by Tuesday at five in the afternoon.

At Clarissa’s Atelier,

− Jo, where’s Clarissa?

− Is it something special that I need to call?

− Of course, I want a wedding dress.

− YOU? Marry??

− Yes, and this is my future husband, Apollo.

− Congratulations, Apollo! I thought no one could take Tália to that! She said laughing.

− I’ll look for Clarissa.

Clarissa arrives,

− Jô said you are going to marry Apolo; Much pleasure and congratulations.

− And don’t you congratulate me?

− Yes, congratulations on finally getting married, Apollo really has an Apollonian figure, and he is older than you; a sign that you’ve matured, are tired of crazy singlenesses. She said laughing; Apolo and Jô laughed too.

− Well, know you that he is a cool young man, apolonian in everything. Raised the indicator.

Clarissa and Jô blushed; Apollo didn’t see, he didn’t understand why they blushed.

− I’d better show you photos so you can choose the model.

− Only the colour is beautiful. Horrible.

−Beautiful! I liked it, but not with this long skirt: I can’t dance. A shorter skirt will work.

− Let’s see more,

−Beautiful! Maybe I’ll wear something like this to the wedding.

Wow! That’s the one!

And I want similar sandals; Do you know where I can find them?

− If Laurent doesn’t have one, he’ll make one for you.

− Everything is beautiful and matching! This Bündchen is sensational! Who is the couturier?


− Everyone will remember; what a shame!

− I can change it a little, Instead of the choker, a strapless one, both bare arms. Of course, you will wear different earrings and bags. You can say it was inspired by Giselle’s. If you haven’t lost much weight by working so hard, I already have your patterns; I don’t need to take your measurements again.

− You can use the moulds, we eat well.

− Can you come to the test on Saturday?

− Could it be in the afternoon?

− Before one, Ok.

− Can I borrow this magazine? I want to show it to Laurent.

− Better: I’ll take a photo of Bündchen’s feet and send it to your email.

She took it out, sent it; Talia received it; saw that it was right.

Kisses, kisses. Until later.

Saturday, first they went to the tailor.

Ambrósio put on the test in Apolo, Tália clapped,

− It’s beautiful!

The blazer and pants needed just a few pins, in minimal details.

− I said it would be ready Tuesday afternoon, but you can come and pick it up Tuesday at 10.

At the Atelier, Clarissa and Jô dressed her,

− You look wonderful in this dress! Applauses Apollo.

Clarissa and Jô turning Talia here, turning there, applying chalk and pins in some spots, Tália looked at herself, enchanted,

− Girls, what an incredible job!

− I agree, Apolo: I really look wonderful in it.

Clarissa finished the test,

− It will almost certainly be ready by Tuesday afternoon, but I’ll call you to confirm.

At Laurent Atelier,

− Talia!

You look more beautiful than when you came to get the Stella McCartney sandals. Here you have taken steps as a model; Didn’t you fall at the dance?

− Not at all! I danced the whole night, with no band-aid on my heels, just two steps over there, two over here… she made bolero steps, laughing.

If I were with on it now, I’d be almost at Apollo’s height.

Sorry, I didn’t introduce you. Apollo is my fiancé.

Laurent regretted that Tália was going to marry a man so much older than her, and the same thing: Laurent’s astonishment (in this case double, because she decided to get married, and because of the difference in ages), explanations…

− Enchanté. monsieur. Paulo, et felicitations! Épouser cette belle dame intelligente et joyeuse est ce que tous les hommes considéreraient comme un cadeau de Dieu [1].

[1] Delighted (to meet you) Mr. Paulo. Congratulations! Marrying this beautiful, intelligent and cheerful lady is what all men would consider a gift from God.

− Enchanté, et merci bien monsieur Laurent.

Apollo gave him his card which Laurent examined carefully; Apolo gave his private one to him.

Apolo read aloud: Laurent Antoine Simon Capet Valois.

− Antoine Capet was a master shoemaker and revolutionary guard of Louis XVII in the Temple. Troubled life of a revolutionary. He was even among the 21 sent to the guillotine with Robespierre at the Place de la Révolution, during an execution that marked the end of the Terror. He therefore died a hero and in good company. Is he your ancestor?
− Yes, I have the family tree of your descendants at home, I am his fortieth great-grandnephew.
− Could you suspend this exchange of pleasantries and Laurent know why I’m here?

Tália showed the photo on her cell phone,

− I want similar sandals; do you have one?

− No, but I can do it. When do you need it?

− No later than Wednesday of next week; But I want to try it here first.

− The same moulds that I have used to make your custom shoes are enough. I don’t need six days; Tuesday, at noon, it will be waiting for you.

− You are an angel, Laurent!

Laurent bends down, takes her right hand, kisses it,

Pour une belle femme, une amie, rayonnante de ses baililles, tout ce que je peux faire, c’est peu.

[2] For a beautiful woman, a friend, radiant about her engagement, all I can do is little.

Living, in their own way their days, some of Apollo’s visits to Armenia consented to by Talia,

Wednesday, costumes, shoes, accessories stored in their room, they came down for breakfast; they had to join Euterpe in the pantry: the house was already taken over by florists, men and women from Your Party Your Charm, coming in with tables, chairs, towels for the living room, starting to tidy up and taking equipment to the kitchen, the banquet room open where other people were cleaning and waxing the ballroom, sound technicians checking the equipment… all on tarps, the day had dawned rainy, Esmeralda commanding, shouting,

No! Not these dishes! It’s the Sèvres crockery!

Yes, Manfred, the Bohemian ones! But not these: the set with red edges is more suitable for the occasion.

Joelma! Ask Cecília to help you and bring the boxes of Rothschild cutlery.

− Bye-bye. I’m going to the theatre; It’s better to hear the screams of students than this hell.

− We’re leaving too, this fuss is making me crazy! Come on, Talia.

They went on the Blazer towards Lago Azul Mall; On the way, Tália called the Lago Azul Hotel and booked a suite facing the lake.

− This Mall is very beautiful; I haven’t been here in a while.

− And I, never.

Hand in hand, hands on their waists, Tália’s hand on Apollo’s waist, hand on his shoulders, they walked among the natural trees of the land, they sat admiring the fountain in the central courtyard, the carp in the reservoir of running water from the stream that runs in it, flows out. Using the stairs they went up to the sixth floor. At the viewpoint, they enjoyed the views of the forest, of the beautiful buildings on another side, of the city in the distance on another.

They sat on one of the benches under palm trees, smoking and talking about their future… whether they should have children... Apolo said he would like them to try, after the end of the year vacation, she kissed him with love. Yes, as soon as your vacation starts I will remove the IUD. And what will you do when you retire? I’m afraid you’ll have to retire at eighty, right?

− Yes, I will open my office Apolo História e Ciências. I saved some money that is invested; After knowing how you invest your money and your assets, I will ask you to manage mine; the exemption will yield a reasonable amount, which I will add to the application.

− How much will the construction, furniture, personnel, initial capital cost?

Apolo took out his cell phone, redid the calculations he had already done,

− Between 430 and 470 thousand Reais.

− You won’t wait until retirement! After our registered marriage, I will create this company in your name, and capitalize it with 240 thousand and 240 thousand to be capitalized by you with what you receive in compensation and the rest with the net results of the school’s profits.

− Crazy, my dear! I don’t accept you doing this.

− Why not? After all, it will be an asset of mine too. And I’m hungry!

They went down to the third floor. At Tout Gourmet they ate the house’s suggestion, a sequence of small portions accompanied by ice-cold Chablis; They discarded the dessert, had a cup of coffee, and walked to the tower’s elevators.

At suite 713, they made love.

Apollo woke up from a nightmare screaming,

− Stop!

− Nooo!

− Apollo! What’s?

He had dreamed of being in a dark house, lit by candles, protecting Esmeralda, Euterpe and Talia from a mob that pushed them away. Hands taking off his clothes, hands tearing Talia’s dress… Stop! He couldn’t take it, they were thrown out the door… No!

He rubbed his eyes, thought,

− What a horrible dream! I was driving at night, along a path that was dark in the woods next to the hotel, a wall appeared out of nowhere, I hit the brakes, without a seat belt I went flying, I was going to crash into the wall.

− What an ugly dream indeed!

Tália hugged him, he lay down, she lay down on him, pressed her lips to his, she felt his member hardening.

Arriving at the mansion, the path to the stairs had vases of flowers every meter, the staircase was protected by a red awning with golden borders and garlands; everything was clean; each room had new vases of flowers, interspersed with small vases of jasmine at the entrance, white, pink, orange and purple alyssum in the drawing room, lady of the night in the banquet hall and ballroom, from each pleasant perfumes, everything calm.

In preparing parties, mom is an expert! And in each one, she manages to create different environments.

− I’m glad the noise and dust are over!

− Yes. Let’s go to our room.

When they opened the door, the soft scent of lavender reached their nostrils; Inside the room, there were two small vases with the flowering plant on each side of the bed.

− She outdid herself; How delicate of a mother!

After a bath together, they lay down.

Apollo woke up at nine, at the end of a dream in which he made love to Esmeralda.

− We have to take a shower again, idiot! You smeared cum all over me and the sheets!

− Your mother’s the guilt; this lavender gave us this crazy sex.

Esmeralda, Euterpe, and Manfred and Cecília were still talking about details for tomorrow.

− Hello, couple, I relaxed in the theatre; where did went you?

− We went further than you: to Lago Azul Mall.

− You could have reminded me: I would go along, stay in another suite, have lunch and come home with you.

Tália said “That’s right!”, and pressed Apolo’s hand.

They sat down too; Joelma served them dinner.

Strolling through the front yard, holding hands, smoking, smelling the flavour of earth and grass after the rain,

− Apolo, go to the other side: I don’t like smoking while holding the cigarette with my left hand.

− Another one I learned and I won’t forget. Apollo said laughing.

They continued through the garden at the side, at the back, walked along the stone paths over grasses of different colours, between old trees, in the orchard,

− Tália, I’m very nervous about sleeping here, listening to the sounds of final tidying up, your mother screaming, more things arriving, sound technicians placing speakers, testing sound. I would like to go to sleep in my old house, get here after noon,

− I think it’s nonsense, but I understand. Go: even if you make love to her, I don’t mind.

− The way I feel, nervous, anxious, maybe I couldn’t even have sex with you.

− I guarantee you would; you know.

Paul went. He stopped the Blazer at the door, and heard the sound of the soap opera that Armenia was watching; He lit a cigarette, waited for it to finish or give a break, then pressed the doorbell button.

− Did you get kicked by your girlfriend?

− Please open the door and I’ll tell you what it is.

− Come, let’s talk in the square.

− In MY little square? She is no longer your little girl, what a shame, what a shame, she sang.

− But life goes on, let’s go.

She took him to the bench beneath the Flamboyant.

Apollo lit another cigarette,

− I’m nervous and regret accepting the invitation to tomorrow’s meeting.

I want to walk with you for a while and talk; you always knew how to calm me down with your teaching skills,

− I’m a culinary arts teacher!

− Yes, art that taught you how to choose and combine ingredients, and tinker with arrangements in the right way. When I was going to defend my Master’s thesis in History, in so many other moments when we had problems when we were evicted until you found our house,

− Does your girlfriend not know how to calm you down? Does she just want to spree, stroll, and have sex?

− She is much younger than me,

− Yes, I’m glad you know it’s a shame; but continues.

− Let’s talk, please, she’s going to get out of my life.

He talked about the Grand Lodge, about the Grand Master, about who the members were, what the ceremonies were like, that they would ask him to answer questions with his hand about the Book of Sacred Law. It’s a crime to say false things, but I can’t tell them everything about my life.

− If you don’t want to be a Freemason, just say that you don’t agree to respond with your hand to this thing!

Apollo thought, understood that the advice was wise, took her hand,

− I knew you would calm me down! Thanks.

They walked around the square and returned home.

− Would you like a glass of wine?

− If you take it too, it would be great for us to toast for your counsel.

They toasted and took a sip with their arms crossed, they sat on the sofa and drank the rest. Armenia opened her lips, Apolo took her in his arms laid her on the bed.

He slept soundly; he awoke at eight, with Armenia’s head on his chest; at peace, prepared to face the party. He waited for her to wake up naturally. Surely she noticed that his eyes were open, she opened hers, looked into his, and he pulled her higher.

They went down at half past nine to have breakfast.

Apolo helped her with cleaning the house, peeling and cutting onions, peeling potatoes, scraping and cutting carrots, while Armenia was preparing food for dinner: Apolo had already told her that they would have lunch at the restaurant they were going to, which was called Panela do Juca, now Pratos de Prata which Armenia said was now bigger and better.

They had lunch, she had a beer; he, sparkling water and lemon juice.

He left her at home and went to the mansion.

− Congratulations! Arrived at one! Did you have sex?

− She asked, but I said I had a headache. Apollo said laughing.

(No problem, I don’t have my hand on the Holy Book).

− I didn’t even try, I couldn’t, but I slept soundly for eight hours.

− I slept very well, for almost ten.

At seven, Esmeralda, Euterpe, Tália and he were in the entrance room, Manfred at the door, gate open, around it, the doorman and 6 security guards hired to prevent paparazzi from entering. Twenty drivers from the company that was hired for the banquet, were ready to receive the occupants and take theirs to the parking lot.

And a late van arrives. Esmeralda was furious!

− In the middle of the guest's cars!

− I’m going to complain to Rogério.

Euterpe lit a cigarette,

− No Euterpe, not here now!

Euterpe, Tália and Apolo went to smoke at the top of the stairs.

At half past seven, Esmeralda, Tália, Apolo and Euterpe, in a row, were on the left side of the door.

Just before eight, the guests begin to arrive, paparazzi photographing the cars as they enter, seeing nothing: all with tinted windows.

The first hugs and kisses Esmeralda, Tália,

− How beautiful you are!

He passes Apollo with a slight bow of his head, passes and hugs and kisses Euterpe.

And so was the reception, “How wonderful!” “How wonderful you look”, very few greeted Apollo, some like the first, most didn’t even look at him. The exceptions were Ambrósio, Clarissa, Jô, and Laurent, who kissed the ladies’ hands, hugged them all and kissed them on both cheeks; everyone knew the French custom; they reciprocated.

Apollo and Tália waited for Esmeralda and Euterpe to enter the living room. Tália enters arm in arm with Apollo; Ambrósio, Clarissa, Jô and Laurent try to stay around her. She was stopped by many who talked to her; the few who nodded at him did so again but didn’t say any words to him.

Waiters handed over the glasses that Esmeralda had chosen, and served Krug Grande Cuvée Brut Champagne, waitresses offered pure Brie de Meraux in small slices, or in pieces breaded in herbs of Provence, or pieces of Costa Negra prawns sautéed in Portuguese virgin oil with nutmeg and saffron from India.

The Maitre enters and, in a loud voice, “Le Dinner est servue!”

At the door of the room, Manfred, with the table map at hand, showed whoever entered the position and the number of his chair.

Ambrósio and Clarissa on Tália’s left, Apollo on her right, Esmeralda on her right, Laurent at her side.

Everyone standing, glasses of Cristal champagne, Louis Roederer vintage 1995 served in the glasses in front of them, Esmeralda,

− A toast to everyone who gave us the honour of accepting our invitation!

Everyone clapped except for a dozen or so, and they toasted with the bubbling pink liquid.

− And thank you for coming to celebrate with us the engagement of my beloved daughter Talia to this pearl of a man that is Apollo!

Esmeralda saw and marked in her head the names of those who didn’t applaud.

She was not disturbed: she raised the cup towards everyone; With the exception of those who didn’t clap, everyone, facing her, raised their glasses and drank some.

Talia gets up,

“Beautiful!” “Wonderful woman!”, and lots of similar shouts and rounds of applause.

− I thank you for coming to celebrate,

One interrupts her,

− And I came to tell you that I won’t allow you to marry this crazy old man!

Two others amend:

“That’s right!” “Away with this stupid rich woman hunter!”, “Away with you, big bastard!”,


− I know them; I know they would never behave like that. Please moderate your drinking.

Tália waited for the three to silence,

− I celebrate today, with this elegant, educated, intelligent man, attentive to whoever meets him, a master of history and science,

− “Master who must have paid a lot to be accepted at university. Says one of them.

Probo? Haha hahaha… your life as a shameless robber of naive women is just not in the police pages because the stupid ones are ashamed to report it!”, says another.

− I ask that those who are next to drunk guests help them to leave the room and my house.

Two stood up and apologized for drinking too much.

− You should stay if you want; if you prefer to leave, leave; but you will always be dear guests at my home.

The three didn’t move, those next to them patted their shoulders, didn’t get up, two men at their sides or close by, lifted them up and pushed them away, they protested, cursing Esmeralda and Tália; the men dragged them to the door. Manfred had already asked the parking lot to park their cars in front of the stairs. When the cars arrived, they were stuffed inside and asked the drivers to lock the doors. And returned to the room.

Talia continued,

− Thank you, therefore, for your very dear presence.

She raised her glass looking at each one, everyone toasted her, placed the glasses on the table, and applauded her.

Apollo stood up,

− When I was in Laurent’s shop — and bowed to him,

Palms; Laurent stood up, nodded, and sat down.

− He greeted me and said (Apolo repeated in impeccable French) “Enchanté. M. Paulo, et félicitations! Épouser cette belle dame intelligente et joyeuse est ce que tous les hommes considéreraient comme un cadeau de Dieu”, And God gave me this priceless gift,

− Congratulations! I wish God would give me this gift. One said.

− You spoke on behalf of all the men who have had the good fortune to know Talia would say.

Talia stood up, face red, bowing her thanks. Esmeralda began clapping.

The starter was “Wedding Appetizer”, described as “trap and blue lobster roll-o-vent, on macaron confit, in the fresh almond veil”.

The gentleman in pince-nez, with thick white hair, in front of Esmeralda stands up,

− A toast to whoever chose this dish and to the chefs who produced it!

Redoubled applause from everyone.

The main course, served with champagne or dry red Chadornay, 1978 vintage, was Chapon de Bresse au parfum de maïs, gratin de cèpes.

Many voices: Wonderful!, Sensational!, Congratulations to the chef! Thank you, Esmeralda, for this ambrosia!

Dessert: Ispahan de Pierre Herma, served with champagne Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 2013.

− Dancing! Euterpe shouts.

Some said goodbye, most followed Euterpe into the ballroom.

Three in the morning, exhausted, they were finally able to go to sleep.

Josélia, Manfred and the cleaning staff still had to do a simple, quick cleaning;

One of the cleaners found a waiter’s outfit; and handed it to Manfred.

Armenia saw the Morning News TV at half past five. Terrified and angry with Apollo, she went to the newsstand. Some newspapers in the city had already published extraordinary editions.

From the descriptions and address, she got the mansion’s phone number. Called,

− Good morning, Madame Esmeralda’s residence. Answered Josélia.

− I urgently need to speak to Doctor Apolo!

− Who speaks?

− I’m the Rector’s secretary, he needs to speak to Professor Apolo immediately!

− He’s sleeping.

− Please don’t waste any more time! Wake him up!

Josélia knocked on the suite door; without an answer, she knocked hard,

− What is it?

− The Dean of the faculty needs to speak to you immediately!

− Thank you; I will answer.

− What happens? Talia grumbles.

− The Rector needs to speak to me urgently. Go back to sleep.

− Hello,

− You need to get out of there immediately. She recognized Armenia’s voice,

− Mr. Rector, I should wait on the line. She explained breathlessly.

− Thank you, I’ll be right there.

− Will you have to go to college?

− It is a call from the Rector of the university, for an urgent meeting of all Deans of faculties and chairholders. It will be fast. Sleep, I’ll be right back.

Apollo dressed hurriedly. Without taking anything, he sped off in the Blazer.

Armenia was waiting for him on the sidewalk, with suitcases, boxes and packages, which her neighbour had helped her collect, making as little noise as possible. No one awake, no one on the street.

− Let’s put everything in the car and leave immediately.

She gave the keys to her neighbour to wait for the moving truck she had hired, with the commitment that only the driver, no helper, would know the destination.

Apolo deleted all contacts on his cell phone, except those from the University.

− Thank you, Suzana; Armenia gave her a kiss,

− I understand the urgency; leave quickly. If any reporter or person comes here, I will say the same thing as the others since they are all asleep: “I was sleeping, I didn’t hear or see anything.”

At the Mansion, only Josélia heard the phone ring and went to sleep again.

At six, Manfred wakes up, does his ablutions and needs, takes a shower, gets dressed, and turns on the television.

Stupefied, mad and in pity for Talia and Esmeralda,

The doorbell rings.

− Monseigneur Laurent!

Laurent enters with newspapers under his arm.

Manfred takes him to his living room; Laurent gives him the newspapers.

− How horrible, what a mess!

− And everything they publish about Esmeralda, Apolo, in particular Talia! Debauchery, criticism, false description of their lives and personalities! I came as soon as I watched the news and bought the newspapers. Everyone will need affection and comfort on how to deal with this filth.

− No one was in the pantry, I imagined you were hiding; I watched the TV news; Give me the newspapers, Manfred. Esmeralda had entered without being noticed.

Euterpe comes down in a rush, and ends up finding them too, she was looking at the newspapers over Esmeralda’s shoulders,

− Mom, who took these photos? Who wrote these barbarities, these lies?

− I don’t think could have been one of the guests,

− Not even drunks?

− These are eliminated, as they were, they wouldn’t even be able to find their cell phones. But let’s see the list: Manfred please bring the list.

The list was right there, Manfred was sitting on it.

They examined each one.

− No, it wasn’t one of them.

− And the waiters?

Esmeralda stretched her arm to take the phone; Laurent handed it to her. She knew the number by heart.

− Your Party Your Charm. Good morning.

− I’m Madame Esmeralda,

− Good morning, madam, what do you want?

− Speak to Rogério, urgently.

− I’ll transfer it to your house, it should still be there.

− Good morning, Esmeralda; I don’t need a crystal ball to imagine: you want to know if it was one of my employees who took these photos. It’s impossible: I had already told Armando, the leader of the team who went to serve her, that, as I always recommend to everyone: everyone leave their cell phones with him, and write down what everyone did whenever they entered or left the kitchen. Furthermore, all our cars, vans and trucks, were in our parking lot, away from the guest parking lot, locked, and the keys with Armando.

− Thank you, Rogério, we have already examined the list of guests and concluded that it was not one of them. I’ll keep looking for who did it.

− Mom! What are you looking for?

− Sit on mommy’s lap.

She explained carefully,

− Give me those newspapers!

She looked, read some of the comments,

She screamed.

− They finished me, you, Apollo! Apollo fled! They turned our party into a laughingstock!

Crying, clinging to her mother,

− I’m going to run away too, where no one can find me.

− On the contrary, little girl! It would give the impression that what was published is true; Let’s find out what she did and how. Let’s go to the office and think about how to find the criminals responsible for inflicting this crime on us.

− Laurent! Sorry! I didn’t even see you were here.

Laurent, who was already standing, hugs her,

− I’ve been here with Manfred since half past six: I saw the news and went to buy the newspapers. I wanted to be close to Esmeralda, Euterpe, and especially you, to help with whatever was needed.

Esmeralda drops the newspapers in the basket,

− The newspapers! Let’s call all three! Euterpe shouts. Read the number on the editorial page, the name of the editor,

Esmeralda writes it down and calls him on speakerphone.

− City’s Journall, good morning!

− I am Madame Esmeralda Leite Furquim Azevedo,

− Yes, Madame Esmeralda, who do you want to talk to?

− With Dr. Arsênio, owner of the newspaper.

− I’ll transfer it in a moment.

− Madam, I can only wish you a good day when I find this photographer and report him to the police, but we are on the right path; we will meet him this afternoon.

− Yes, but was he the one who wrote the article you published?

− It wasn’t me or the editor-in-chief; Unfortunately, at the time the photographer sent the photos to the newspapers, the person who received them was the chief’s assistant, who gave the photos to the editors on duty and ordered the extra edition to be issued.

− Without knowing who sent them? Since the milk is split I will be forced to take action against the three newspapers.

− Rightly so! My friends and I, who own the other two, are writing a complaint to you and those mentioned, telling us who they are — which, in fact, most of our clients already know, and explaining what happened.

− I understand; Anyway, I’m going to file the lawsuit, and pay for it to be published in the three newspapers; If everything is resolved to our satisfaction and for you, I will withdraw the Action.

− My newspaper will not charge for publication; I’m sure the others don’t either.

Then Esmeralda called the family lawyer, explained it to him, and asked him to get a copy of the petition, she wanted to include it in the extra edition.

There was no time: the extra edition of the three newspapers apologized to readers, explaining the entire sequence of what happened, which the author of the photos, self-employed — we did not publish his name, at the request of the police who want to investigate other facts —, declared in the investigation:

“I entered the house in a van from the Your Party Your Charm company, saying I was a waiter, I was late for work, that I didn’t have time to go get my apron and cap, the driver gave me an apron, cap and sneakers. I put on an apron over my clothes, and put on my cap and sneakers. I entered through the back. In the kitchen I introduced myself to the team leader, apologizing for being late. The team leader, who had already stored everyone’s cell phones, didn’t even think about it, he told me to go urgently to the entrance room; I served the glasses and champagne; with my cell phone under the tray, I took photos without anyone noticing, and so I continued to use them in the other rooms; In the ballroom, it was easier: everyone was drinking, dancing, I made better shots. On the way out, I took off my waiter clothes and accessories, went out on the left side of the house, and hid my clothes behind a tree.”

On the two inner pages, a report on the lives and deeds of Esmeralda, Tália, Euterpe and Apolo, with facts and praise for each one.

Tália asked Manfred to send a driver to Armenia’s house.

He rang the doorbell twice, the third time he pressed it for a few seconds,

Suzana and the neighbour on the left opened their doors,

− Sir, the house is empty; Our neighbours moved out at dawn, I was sleeping; didn’t hear anything. Says the neighbour on the left.

− I didn’t hear anything either; I woke up to people ringing the doorbell; I think they were reporters. They left and didn’t even leave a note, I don’t know where they went.

Jo Paul, the farm foreman, heard the horn go on several times; He came, running, to open the gate that has its name on a wooden sign: Maria Amélia’s Farm.

− Dona Armenia, I believe you are her husband,

− Yes, Jo Paul, he is my husband Apolo.

− Come in!

− Armenia!, Apollo! What a joy! I’m glad you could come see me again.

− In fact, mother, we are running away from our home, from our city.

− How? Why?

− Where can we live for now?

− At Zé Paulo and Josélia,

(Another Josélia, Paulo missed the other one. Happy, hard-working, helpful girl. How is Tália?)

They built their house further back: it was too small for them and four children.

It’s clean, come.

The house was large: suite, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, large living room and kitchen.

− Everything that arrives in the truck will fit and there will be room left over!

Apollo agreed,

− Incredible! It looks like the house of a wealthy ranch owner!

They unloaded what they had brought in the Blazer. Four-day trip, they took a good shower, changed their clothes; went to the balcony, where Maria Amélia already had coffee, slices of bread, freshly squeezed milk, whipped butter, fresh cheese, cream cheese, cheese bread.

Armenia told about their lives, about the entry of a rich flirt into Apollo’s life, about his stupidity, the party, the scandal; she brought the newspapers, gave them to her mother; look.

− Apollo! How did you fall into this trap? Armenia told me what it was; you should have suspected this girl, this family.

− They are not bad people, they were always kind to me, Tália fell in love with me, I started flirting, and I became sentimentally involved with her; I lived in a terrible dilemma: I love Armenia and I was falling in love with Talia. The party and the scandal freed me. I feel sorry for Talia; She must be devastated.

− She is young, rich and beautiful, she will have many men, wiser than you, courting her, consoling her; soon she will be married.

− Yes, I hope so.

Maria Amélia opened a new account at her bank so that Armenia and Apolo could move and transfer their values and investments. They cancelled their accounts and the documents they had in the city’s notary offices.

Armenia and Apolo lived a new life, similar to the one they lived in the first years of marriage, but without ghosts of the past; loving each other, helping each other, affectionate with each other.

They didn’t need what the city offered them, just to work.

The Province had few schools, few in the region just two universities in the urban centre, six hours away, by car that faced the steep hills.

They asked Maria Amélia to tell that he and Armenia were teachers, to anyone who came to buy milk, cheese, coffee, animals, or vegetables or to visit her.

Some look for them, they like them. Word of mouth brings others.

They turned the room into a classroom.

With their reserves, they began to build a pavilion,

− You can now apply for retirement.

− Retirement, yes, but with everything that has happened, I doubt they will fire me; however, it doesn’t hurt to try. Considering the time difference, the Rector must have been at home.

He called; the Rector answered himself,

− Apollo! Glad you responded!

− Did you send me a message?

− Yes, four months ago.

− I was on the road.

− Sigmund, who are you talking to?

− With Apollo, Eunice.

− Yes, we all understood that you and Armenia left without leaving a trace when you read the news published on the day of Esmeralda’s feast; and it seems that you did not know, until today, what was published the following day, clarifying what had actually happened, apologizing to everyone, a quarter of a page with your story and deserved praise. You can come back; you’ll be welcomed with joy and parties.

− Wow! We didn’t know. However, we prefer to stay here, it would be a torment to be famous there.

− You are already famous here. What can I do for you then?

− Doctor Sigmund, I want to open a school, then a university in this region; few and scattered schools in this region, only two universities in the capital of the province, four or five hours away by car, inaccessible on horseback. If I can retire, I will use the funds for this.

− Retired masters call me by my first name; I will present your request to the Council. I call you later.

− Then, thank you, Sigmund.

Although they can now use personal accounts, they preferred to continue using Maria Amélia’s. She renamed it Schools and University Maria Amélia’s Farm.

20 days have passed.

− Sigmund, good afternoon!

− From here I send you a good day and news; It took me a while because it was not easy to bring together all the counsellors at this time.

Unanimously, the Council approved that you be fired, with all the rights you have for your 45 years as a Professor, 40 as a Master and 35 as a Professor. A bronze plaque in appreciation to you will be added to the gallery of people to whom the University owes favour and honour.

Apollo took a while to respond,

− Apollo?

− I’m thrilled! I don’t know how I could thank you!

− The University thanks you for your many years of work dedicated to it, which you promoted. And now, you promoted it everywhere.

3,371,078.43 Reais entered the account as Schools and University Maria Amélia’s Farm.

Enough resources to build good schools and universities, and expand them in the future.

What the resources they now had, they could wait to sell their house.

To test, they put it up for sale at a price 20% higher than the market price at brokers in the city. Responses had to be sent to the email address sumaf@ma.

The next day a response from one of them:

We received, from our client, a well-known and respected person in the city who gave us exclusivity for the transaction, a firm proposal, with solid guarantees, for a cash purchase at the asking price. Our client asks that his name only be mentioned in the purchase and sale deed. If accepted, please send a specific power of attorney registered with a notary, with a certified copy, to us, Vinício Esteves Ramão,… Address, telephone, ID card, Social Security Number, National Association of Realtors number,…

They read it to Maria Amélia.

− Why doesn’t this person want to declare his name before closing the deal? Asks Armenia.

− I imagine there are many who think that we wouldn’t sell to him because we had relationships that they imagine were offensive to me. I don’t remember having this type of relationship with anyone. For myself, I sign the power of attorney.

− You can sign: an offer of this real estate agency is not a fraud. They would not risk being cancelled by NAR.

The farm’s lawyer sent the draft; approved, they made three copies, signed it, and kept one. Maria Amélia asked the registry office to send links for notarization of the two; accepted and registered, only then Jo Paul led both copies to the registry office.

The registered copies were sent to the real estate agency.

The house was purchased by Laurent Antoine Simon Capet Valois.

Just him? We became close friends! Why would he have feared that I would refuse him?

Apolo looked through his belongings and found Laurent’s card.

He sent a message via the SUMAF address.

”My dear Laurent,

I’m glad you bought our house but I didn’t understand why you didn’t want his name to only appear on the contract.

We were close friends, and I hope you still consider me a friend. I owe you attention and help while I was there.

Big and longing hug.”

Laurent then responded:

“Cher et especial ami,

Je te répond en français afin que tu pêut continuar à exercisés parfaites compétences écrites et orales dans cette langue.

Maria Amélia and Armenia let Apolo read till the end, unperturbed.

“Esteemed and dear friend,

I will answer you in French so that you can continue to practice your perfect writing and speaking skills in this language.

The one who asked me not to declare my name was Talia; Because you disappeared without leaving the address where you went, she thought you were hurt by her.

It was silly, but she insisted, and wanted the house to be a place of memory of the unbridled passion, as if it were on LSD, and the tragic ending that you experienced.

God chose me to receive the gift.

Two years ago we got married.

We managed to get Esmeralda to give up the pomp; we got married in the small and beautiful Church of São Lourenço, attended only by members of Talia’s family, my parents — who came to watch it and meet Talia’s family -, Manfred, Josélia, Maria, Clarrissa, Jô, Ambrósio, François, Otávio and Mauro Antunes, who were at the party and I don’t think you know them.

We live on a farm that we bought and live with our son Hermes (this name was chosen by Esmeralda, of course), who turned one on the eighteenth of last month.

Esmeralda, Euterpe, Manfred, Maria, Josélia, Ambrósio and Clarissa visit us frequently, they remember you with affection. They miss you very much.

By email address. I went to see the EUFMA website.

What a wonderful idea you had and turned into reality!

I see, with joy, that you have no shortage of work.

Talia also saw the site and sends you happiness, continued success, an affectionate hug and thanks for the moments you gave her, and two kisses, in the French style.

Big hug, I miss you. Two kisses for you”.

Whenever there was news on one side or the other, they called and conversed.

Apollo lived with his crown, the crown he loves; Talia with hers blessed by God.

With the news, they had even more things to talk about in their old age.

If it were a story about kings, princesses and fairies, it would end with:

And so they lived happily ever after.


“What you say, with all due respect, is just what you say,” Bob Marley would joke at me.

If you read everything and got this far, congratulations and thank you very much.

If you didn’t like it, please comment. Critics are welcome by any writer.

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Flavio Musa de Freitas Guimarães

Already watching the eighty-eight turn of the Earth in curtsy around its King, I’m an engineer that became a writer, happy, in perfect health, body and mind.