Twenty seven hours later.
Standing in the lobby of the hotel, surrounded by walls adorned with beautifully aged English art, framed in antique wood frames, emblazed with colours most eyes could not help but be drawn towards. The floors were layered with smooth black and white Italian marble running from front to end and smelling of Parisian perfumes, roses and sugars, elegant and fine, like an aroma-laced velvet cloth had been lightly graced under ones nose.
Even with all this beauty, the hostess frowned in annoyance. All the while, she gently tapped harder on the keyboard in front of her computer hoping for a different message. She sighed.
Danica on the other hand was glaring, both elbows up on the counter, trying to see the screen, even though it was facing away from her. “You have got to be kidding me?” She almost snarled, jet leg and exhaustion weighing down her limbs.
The hostess, a pretty little brunette with hazel eyes, skin as white as alabaster and a soft voice hinting of a slight Portuguese accent, her name tag reading ’Donna Lopes’ smiled very sweetly, customer service seemingly born in her bloodstream. “You have to understand, the auction is very popular. It runs for three days. You coming here unexpectedly after the end of day one cannot always guarantee a reservation.”
Danica lightly smacked her passport on the desk, imagining all the things she would do to Amy when she returned home. “I was told we would have two rooms. Adjoining rooms, but very specifically, two!”
Danica turned and looked at the politely waiting Hayden, hands at his sides and sporting a goofy grin, having slept comfortably on the flight the entire way, unaware his snoring kept most of the first class cabin up and the front seven rows of economy, not to mention, herself.
He shrugged and mouthed the words. ‘Shit happens.’
Danica ignored him and turned back to the hostess. “What about a broom closet or a trunk?” Gesturing to Hayden behind her. “He likes to rough it.”
The hostess smiled, looking up and winking innocently at Hayden, as though considering putting him up for the night at her place. She returned to Danica with a downtrodden look. “I’m truly very sorry. There’s only the one room. But it’s still a suite.” The hostess keyed a few buttons. “But as compensation, I will have a generous gift basket brought up for the inconvenience.”
Danica sighed with defeat. “Is there at least a sofa?”
The hostess frowned again. “I’m afraid not. But there is a dining table?”
Danica turned to glare in Hayden’s direction.
Hayden tilted his head at her like you would a child who needed to be told something important. “You don’t even have to ask. Of course you can have the table.” He looked past Danica to the hostess. “I presume it comes with a blanket and pillow?”
The hostess blushed, not having offered it for that purpose.
Danica spun back to the hostess without a word, knowing who was getting the table. “Can you also please have the ’paid’ movie channel deactivated for the term of our stay?”
The hostess acknowledged the request and returned to her keyboard to add the instructions while encoding their keycards.
Hayden looked insulted. “Hey. Did I not pay you for the movie at the hotel before we left?”
Danica gave him a dirty look. “Yet, I still had to check out. You sticking a ten dollar bill in my pocket after the concierge asked me if we enjoyed our stay and him seeing your selection…” She emphasized ‘selection’ with distaste. “Does not qualify as having paid enough. I paid with my pride.”
“I told you in the elevator down I owed you ten dollars.” He answered defensively.
“I thought it was for room service.”
Hayden grinned with amusement. “Technically it was.”
Danica’s eyes widened for a second and squinted tight. She offered him no answer, as her father once told her, ’If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ She instead returned to watching as the hostess prepared the keycards.
Hayden remained equally as quiet.
After a minute, Danica casually mentioned. “Plus it was fourteen dollars, not ten.”
“Would it make any difference if I said I didn’t watch the whole thing?” Hayden asked.
Danica turned back around very slowly.
Hayden’s smile froze on his face at Danica’s look, the corners of his lips being drawn downward by the gravimetric forces of a woman’s fury. It was like invisible death rays seemed to shoot from her eyes and melt his precious grin into a puddle of sloppy frowns.
When Danica felt she had wasted enough time on him, her eyelids loosened and she rerturned her icy gaze to the front desk.
After a full minute, realizing Danica was no longer glowering as she was, Hayden spoke up. “You know I’m kidding right?” He offered apologetically.
She ignored him.
Hayden waited a second. When he got no response, he stated, speaking louder. “I did watch it all.”
Danica wanted to turn and slug him, but in doing so, she knew she would still have to touch him. Ignoring him seemed to bother him the most, so she kept it up.
After another minute, Hayden offered. “I’ll give you $ 4.00 when we get to the room if you want.”
“Keep it.” Danica replied curtly, not wanting to touch anything his hands held.
The hostess reached forward and held up the two keycards to be taken, held apart as she suspected they wanted to grab their own.
Danica grabbed hers, followed by her luggage.
Hayden picked up his bag, grabbing the second key from the hostess and passed Danica. As he did so, he said aloud for the hostess to hear. “I hope you don’t snore because I’m a light sleeper.”
Danica stormed in behind him with her cardkey in hand, remembering the sound of Hayden on the plane like a chainsaw in the forest bringing down a barrage of redwood trees without the courteous ‘TIMBER!’
They reached the elevator in relative quiet.
“You’re still not getting the bed.” Danica declared.
Hayden chuckled to himself. ’Hopefully not to myself anyway.’
Danica scowled suspecting what he was thinking.
‘Not a hope in Hell.’