Bjorn looked around, stunned by Pedro's claim to have a better knowledge of his near future than himself. How could that possibly be? he wondered. And Pedro's insinuation that his behavior was somehow being monitored was right out bizarre. But knowing smiles and looks exchanged between Jan's daughters seemed to support Pedro's claim. The girls were in on it somehow, and obviously amused by Pedro's shameless forwardness.
"But what do you think about the apartment?" Pedro asked, changing the topic to the more mundane.
"Oh, it's beautiful," Olga replied enthusiastically.
"So you like it?" Pedro asked, looking for confirmation from the rest.
"Yeah, yeah," everybody agreed, nodding politely.
"It's great, isn't it," Pedro said with a big smile. "I can hardly wait to move in."
"It's a palace," Igor commented.
"It is. It's a palace!"
Pedro looked around in the kitchen, and then over at Georgio.
"Well, I guess it's time for you to show your guests out," Pedro commented. "But you'll return, right?"
"Yeah. In fact... Einar can let them out... I can stay here if you like."
"Yes, I would. You're not too busy are you?"
"No... Not really. Einar and I are just here to finish a few things."
Pedro made a sweeping pass of Georgio's guests with his head as if to firmly lock their faces into his memory. Then he bid them farewell with a friendly smile, telling them that he had much enjoyed getting to know them, even if their presence was somewhat unexpected.
"Well, that was unexpected," Ante commented to Bjorn as they followed Einar to the back exit.
"And awkward," Bjorn added.
"Yeah, but he was cool about it though, wasn't he?"
"Is this the first time you've met Pedro?" Bjorn asked Einar as he ushered the group out of the servants' hallway and into the stairwell.
"He's been here a few times before," Einar replied. "But this is the first time I've talked to him face to face."
"And what do you think?"
"Well, he was super cool about this, wasn't he... And Jan almost offered me a job. Isn't that cool?"
"Impressive guy, don't you think?" Olga continued.
"And not as mean looking as Jan," Einar agreed.
"You think Jan looks mean?" Ante asked.
"He can look kind of scary, don't you think?" Bjorn added, agreeing with Einar. "And his daughters... They got those beady eyes too."
"Yeah. Don't you think so?"
Ante did not answer. Then, as they reached the ground floor, he could not help asking everybody if they too got the impression that Pedro was ready to hire him as a chef.
"Yeah, he did, didn't he?" Einar replied, stopping up by the back door. "Will you take his offer?"
"Now, now," Bjorn protested. "None of you guys got any job offers up there. They were just being polite."
"You think so?" Einar asked.
"Well... I guess you could take them up on their words one day. But they were just thinking out loud."
"Okay," Einar commented. "But anyway... Are we all going down to the garage, or are you two going back by foot?"
Bjorn and Ante looked at each other. They were both ready for a walk in the fine weather, and asked Einar to let them out. A gush of fresh arctic air entered the stairwell the moment Einar opened the door, and it felt great to step into the crisp coolness of it all.
Bjorn and Ante waved goodbye to Einar and the two Russians, and started walking up to the path at the back of the building, leading diagonally up towards the crest of the hill.
The part of the path closest to the apartment was widened into a dirt road, and a large excavator parked at the end of the road, gave the two men the impression that there were plans to widen the entire path, all the way up to the top of the ridge.
Bjorn pulled out a cigarette, and lighted it, taking in the full view of the building site, as it appeared from the back of the apartment building.
"So, what did you make of Pedro's prediction about the days to come?" Bjorn asked.
"About Tuesday and Wednesday, you mean?"
"You know," Ante said, hesitating while thinking. "Maybe Frank is sharing info with these guys... I mean... Frank's probably corrupted, isn't he?"
"You're right. It must be Frank. Who else could it be?"
"If Pedro wasn't bluffing, that is."
"Oh no, I don't think he was."