Yawn! “Whoa! How did I end up in the here?” I guess in the midst of my thoughts I drifted to the park and fell asleep.
“Sorry. We drifted to the park.”
Yesterday seemed like a bad dream, but Caramel’s presence confirms it was real.
“Yeah, I know it sucks. I guess we should find somewhere to go. But where?” Now that Elliot knows that I’m alone, he may come back. Or worse, I run into my mother. Nothing could be worse than if she found me after noticing I had been in the house and took stuff.
“I deal with her later. Let’s see who is in dad’s address book.” I opened the old leather book. It smell just like dad; vanilla and cinnamon. I scrolled down the list of names; none whom looked familiar to me.
“Sorry Mel. I don’t think that there is anyone in here that can help us. I’ve never even heard dad mention any of these people, nor have I seen any myself. Looks like we’re still on our own.”
“Ooo! Mommy, look at the puppy!” a voice said.
I looked up and saw a little girl–hair pulled up in a fluffy, brown bun and dressed in a puffy, pink, flowery dress–pointing at Caramel.
“Yes sweetie it is a puppy,” her mother said.
“Can I pet it!? Can I, mommy?” the little girl asked her mother.”
“Ask the young lady first, Sophia,” her mother responded.
Sophia ran over to the tree that I, apparently, slept under and said to me, “Hello Miss. You have a very pretty puppy. What is it’s name?”
“Her name is Caramel,” I answered.
“Caramel is a pretty name. May I please pet her?”
“Of course you may.” Sophia kneeled down and, surprisingly, Caramel ran towards her and licked her face relentlessly.
“I guess she really likes people,” I said. Which makes sense, since she hates Elliot, who she obviously realized is a monster.
“Ha ha ha! Caramel, that tickles!” shouted Sophia in between laughs.
Sophia reminded me what it meant to be a kid. So young, so innocent, so pure, so precious that no one wants to expose them to the cruel pain of the real world. Adults so scared to break their mythical magic worlds of peace too soon, destroying the last shred of hope that a change will be brought upon this filthy, dead planet, and it’s people just as filthy and dead.
I looked her wistfully, longing to be that way again.
“Sophia,” her mother called, “We have to go now.”
“Awwww,” Sophia whined. “Can we stay a little longer?”
“No sweetie. We have to go meet Margret, her parents, and papa for lunch.”
“Okay.” She turned back to Caramel, “Bye, Caramel.” Then to me, “Bye, Miss. I hope we meet again.”
“Me too,” I replied. Then she ran off after her mother.
“So cute. Guess you made a new friend, Mel. Now if only I could do the same,” I thought out loud. “Well,” I said getting up, “we are not sleeping under a tree in a park tonight. How about a hotel room? We have enough money for a room for about month.”
“Off we go, then.” Walking down the street I saw many people staring at us. This made me feel very uncomfortable and nervous, hoping that no one would recognize me or wonder what I was doing by myself, carrying all of this stuff.
“Whoa, that’s a lot of things.” Like that.
“Yeah I know,” I said, bluntly, to the unknown voice coming from somewhere behind me and my ‘lot of things’.
“Harsh, Ice Princess.”
“Hate to be rude, but could you leave me alone?”
“Hate to be nice, but no. Can I help you?”
“You approached me, remember?” I snapped.
“Carry your bags. Can I help you carry your bags?”
I finally stopped and dropped my bags to look at him; and he was gorgeous!
OMG, Lex! Don’t freak out and act even more like a total Queen of the Jerks. However, for some unknown reason, though that’s what I thought, my attitude had other ideas.
“Why not?” Super McCutie asked.
“I don’t want help. I mean, do I look like I need it?” I answered, noticing that my sass level was starting to peak.
“Well, kill me for saying this, but, yes. You look kind of…overwhelmed?”
Then I lost it.
“Really? Really?! Well just mind your own business from now on and stay far away from mine,” I yelled.
“K. Sorry for messing with you. Hope you don’t fall,” Super McCutie said, in the calmest, sweetest, most sincere voice I had ever heard, since Dad calmed me down after the Elliot incident.
Now you’ve done it, stupid. He thinks you’re a total wacko! You just embarrassed Super McCutie in front of half of the city. Nice way to try to stay unnoticed and to tell off THE HOTTEST GUY IN THE WORLD. And you don’t even know his real name.
While in the middle of my self-guilt party, I stomped off around the corner to a pet friendly hotel that I remembered seeing before: Carter House.
I walked/stumbled in the front door and up to the smooth, shiny, grey and white speckled counter. There was a tall, really thin man in a blue shirt arranging some kind of papers.
“Um, excuse me?” I said.
He looked up, “Oh! Hello, how may I help? Are you lost, young lady?”
“No. I’d like to get a room.”
“O-okay. For a night or two?”
“What?! Young lady, do you know how much that cost?”
“About $150,000, right?”
“Yes,” the man said looking surprised that I knew this. “Exactly that much.”
“Then,” I said reaching into my pocket and pulling out the money, “I’d like to get a room for a month, please.”
“Do your parents know you’re here?”
“My dad may. I don’t know nor do I hope my mom does.”
“Very well, then. Let me show you to your room.” He walk out from behind the desk and started towards the gold elevator.
“On you go,” he said as the doors squeaked open. After we got on the reached forward and hit the dull, black button labeled with a 4.
“Your room is on the 4th floor. Room 12B,” he said.
“When you get off go to the right,” he said as the doors reopened.
After walking a little down the hall, decorated with cream wallpaper and worn blue carpet that had lines from suitcases repeatedly rolling on it, we stopped in front of a beige door with a gold 12B on it.
“Here we are,” he said, “and here you go.” He handed me a small, glossy card with a green house and the hotel name printed on it in giant green letters. “This is your key card to get into the room and what we will keep your tab on for room service.”
“Okay,” I said.
“And housekeeping comes around every two days. The phone number for the front desk is on the table next to the phone.”
“There are vending machines around the corner along with an ice machine.”
“My name is Steven Carter. I’ll let you settle in now and I’ll send someone to check on you in a little while.”
“Your welcome. I hope you two enjoy your stay with us.”
After he got back on the elevator, I just stood there staring at the door to the room, breathless.
“I know, I know, Caramel. I…” Actually, I don’t know. I just wish none of this had to happen.
But it did. So just suck it up and move on.
This pep talk worked, because I took a deep breath, swiped the card, and opened the door.
Inside, the room was beautiful. The bed had a big, white blanket and 4 big pillows to match. There was a big window, with a balcony, along the back wall. In front of me, there was a large, polished foyer, with a huge sofa and a 34 inch flat screen mounted on a pretty brown table.
I walked in and looked to the right to discover the biggest closet and bathroom I had ever seen. The bathroom had a hot tub, shower, makeup counter with a silver, light up mirror. The closet was like a separate bedroom. It contained a full length mirror, another sofa, and a mini fridge.
“Whoa,” I said, “this place is huge. Maybe he gave me the wrong room?” I put my bags and Caramel’s leash down, and walk over to the phone sitting by the bed. I dialed the number for the front desk.
“Hello,” Mr. Carter said.
“Hi, sir. This is the girl from room 12B. I was wondering did you mistakenly give me the wrong room?” I asked.
“No, Miss. Why would you think so?”
“It’s all fancy and extravagant. I don’t think I can pay for this.”
“Oh no, dear. This is a gift. From your ID, I noticed yesterday was your birthday, and if you are here, it must mean that your birthday didn’t go well. Also, you implied that you were hiding from your mother, so I supposed that something went wrong, and I felt sorry for you. So I upgraded your room, no extra cost.”
“Oh. Thank you.”
“That was unexpected. I guess this is our room,” I said to Caramel, after hanging up the phone.
“Bark,” Caramel said.
After marveling at the room again, I decided to take a bath. I walked into the glamorous bathroom, turned on the hot water and added some soap from the purple bottle on the side of the sink.
Sitting there, I thought of what my story would be if mom decided to report my “break in” to the police. I could say that I had no idea what she was talking about, but that may get me in trouble. Or I could say that technically I am her child and was not breaking in, but that I was returning home to pack for a trip. However, after the police agreed with me (or didn’t) and left, I might mysteriously end up dead in some dark, deserted alley. My best bet was to avoid the police and mom altogether.
I turned off the water that was pouring into the tub, like my panic pouring into my thoughts, and just sat there on the bedazzled chair. Then, I stood up and submersed myself into the water and let my worries slip away.
As I was drying my hair I heard a knock at the door. I put on my birthday outfit and, with the towel strategically wrapped around my head, answered the door.
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Room service,” I heard a vaguely familiar voice say. Then I remembered I hadn’t ordered anything from room service yet. Still, I opened up the door.
“Oh my gosh,” I said, astonished, with my mouth hanging open. It was Super McCutie! Standing in front of me. Pushing a cart of my favorite foods.
“Hey,” he said as if we were friends and I was expecting him to be there.
“What are you doing here?” As quickly as I had said it, I just as quickly felt really stupid.
“Room service?” he said, as he pointed to the cart and made a face as if he noticed my feeling of stupidity.
“I mean why are you here at this hotel?”
“Okay, Mr. Funny Man. How did you know I was staying here, not to mention the choice of foods?”
“First, I work here. Second, aren’t these foods your favorites?”
“How do you know that?!”
“Well, my dad owns the hotel and it’s named after my family and I get paid for being here so…”
“How do you know about the food!?”
“Seriously!” He was starting to test my patience.
“I have my ways.”
I gave up trying to reason with him. “Whatever. Just leave the food on the table.”
“Okay,” he said pushing the cart in the room.
I walked over to the TV and turned it on to channel 15. It was time for my favorite show, Lovely Dreamers.
“Lovely Dreamers isn’t on today,” he said from behind me.
“And how do you know that?” I said trying to sound as sarcastic as possible.
“Checked the listings earlier.”
“But Believe is on channel 27. Special episode.”
This guy was creepy. He knew my favorite shows and foods, yet I didn’t even know his name. Which reminded me.
“What’s your name?” I finally asked.
“Alexander, but you can call me Zander.”
“Why, Zander? Why not Alex?” I asked slightly afraid of the answer.
“I’m sure we both know the answer to that,” he said flashing me a grin.
Darn it! I was hoping with all of the unimportant stuff he had learned about me, he would have forgotten learning a simple thing like my name.
“And may I add, your last name suits you perfectly,” he said.
“What?” I said not sure if I should have felt offended or appreciative.
“You’re as beautiful or even more than the moon itself.”
Before I had a chance to respond, Caramel started barking at the TV.
“What’s wrong, Mel?” I said as I turned around to see my answer slammed in my face.
“Late yesterday evening,” the news anchor said, “a car ran off of the Branch Road Bridge. Only one passenger has been found dead. The hospital has identified this passenger as a male in his late 40s, by the name of Daniel Moon. Moon’s wife, Mrs. Sarah Moon, has verified that their daughter, Alexia Moon, is responsible for the accident.” What?
My mom flashed up on the TV, crying her fake tears saying, “Earlier that morning, my husband and I woke Alexia up to tell her happy birthday, but when we did, she just yelled at us for waking her up so early. Then as my husband was getting ready for work, I saw Alexia doing something to his car. When I went to ask her what was she doing, she just told me to go back in the house and to say nothing. Later as she and I were setting the table for dinner, I was trying to call Daniel, because he should have been home already. I panicked, ran to my car and drove off to see if he was still at work. When I got to Branch Road Bridge, I saw his car had gone over the rail. Some people were standing there looking over the edge and I knew they were calling police. Out of shock, I speed home. When I got home I realized Alexia was gone and had robbed us! I was scared, so I drove over to my sister’s house, where I spent the night, grieving over Daniel’s death and my daughter’s terrible crime. I just want to bring my daughter to justice. It’s what I believe Daniel would have wanted.” What?!
Then my picture showed up on the screen as the news anchor said, “If anyone has seen this girl, do not approach her for she may be armed. However, you are to call the police if you ha–” I turned off the TV. I couldn’t hear anymore lies and accusations.
“Wow. Pretty elaborate lie,” Alexander said. I had almost forgotten he was there.
“How do you know it was a lie?” I asked him, in a bland tone.
“You seem shocked and mortified. Anyone who had the guts to do that, still be in town, and give out their information without a fuss couldn’t be as bad as that woman makes them out to be,” he explained.
Knowing that I had an ally in this chaos was so relieving that I started to cry.
Hearing Alexander say, “Hey, hey. Calm down,” made me sob even harder. I heard him close the door and walk towards me.
“It’s okay. I’m here for you,” he said as he hugged me. I then heard Caramel whimper, and come over and start rubbing her head on my leg.
“It’s all going to get better,” he said, pulling the towel off to rub my head. Then I let it all go. I broke down in to a bawling mess. I realized that this was the first time that I had cried since hearing about the accident. I had finally felt so safe, that I let my sadness that I blocked out, show; and it felt good.
“Don’t worry. We’ll find a way to fix this,” he quietly whispered into my ear.
“Thank you,” I managed to squeak between sobs.