I finally pulled into a motel parking lot somewhere outside of Charleston, West Virginia. It was off on a side street, and definitely looked like it rented by the hour, but it was past midnight and I was too exhausted to drive any longer. Jason had woken up an hour earlier and he looked up at the motel with doubt.
“If we had stayed on the highway, we could have found a decent place,”
“Jason, we're here, it's cheap, they have a vacancy, and I'm way too tired to argue right now.”
He raised his hands in defeat and grabbed all of our bags out of the back. I turned to him.
“I know, I know, wait by the car,” he said, before I could.
“Whatever,” I replied, grumpily, taking my bag from him and jogging over to the front office.
The night manager was a geeky kid who couldn't have been older than me. He looked up when I came in, jingling the bell over the dirty glass door.
“I need a room for the night,” I said, handing him my new id.
He looked at it for a second and passed a ledger over to me. The motel was so rundown, it looked like they didn't even have a computer. I prayed we didn't get murdered in our sleep.
“Sign in,” he said, handing me a pen that was attached to the counter with some string, “room's $20 for the night, checkout's noon.”
I signed my new name as illegibly as possible, right below a host of other equally as illegible names. We traded cash for id, and he gave me a key attached to a worn plastic keychain with a faded “8” on the front.
“Room 8, at the end,” he said, pointing in the general direction of the rest of the building.
“Thanks,” I replied, leaving him to his magazine that he picked up as soon as he gave me the key, indicating his job was done.
I jogged back out to the car and grabbed Jason, who had been leaning against the hood, dozing. We made our way down to the end of the one story building, which apparently only had 17 rooms, 8 in front and 9 in back, and I worked the key in the lock until I got it to open.
I flipped on the light switch by the door and the room was bathed in a dim yellow glow. There was one full size bed in the middle of the room, facing a table with a small TV on it. A desk took up the corner farthest from the door, and another door was set next to it, probably the bathroom.
It smelled like cats and cigarettes, but for $20 it was better than sleeping in the car. Jason was going to have a harder time adjusting to our life on the lam, at least I was used to cheap and rundown.
He sighed loudly behind me and headed for the bed, dropping the bags next to it and collapsing face first on top of the dark brown comforter.
“Wake me in the morning,” he said, from his sprawled position.
“If we're gonna share a bed, you can at least take your shoes off,” I replied, taking my bags to the bathroom and shutting the door behind me.
“I can take a lot more off,” he said loud enough to be heard through the door.
I grinned and started going through my bag, getting everything out that I would need for the morning before settling in for some well deserved sleep.