Room Service (A tale from the Shady City)

The Weir hotel was a beautiful modern building in City Main. The chain had hundreds of branches all around the world but its biggest and most important was that in Coldford City. Rodney Weir was a Coldford son born and bred. With the empire beginning in the Shady City it seemed fitting that their grandest establishment was homed there. Cameron and his wife Leslie arrived around noon. Cameron had been head hunted for a prestigious position with the Beckingridge Financial Firm. Cam had been a financial trader for many years and now his hard work was finally paying off. A position with Beck could mean great things for him and his young wife. “You’re finally getting the recognition you deserve,” Leslie had cheered, kissing him when he got the phone call. The firm had asked that he come into the city for a week – work with them, sign some paperwork and get a feel for his new colleagues. They compensated him for his time by paying for a room in Shady City’s most elite hotel. The Weir had been recently refurbished. Its lobby was a large open space with a shining marble floor. A glittering chandelier hung overhead. It reminded Leslie of the ancient palaces she had read about in story books. Cameron pulled a tartan coloured suitcase holding enough luggage for the both of them for the duration of their stay. Leslie carried Cameron’s best suit in a suit cover. A press corp was hanging around the entrance. Leslie recognised them by the hungry look in their eyes, like a kettle of circling vultures. Before they had the chance to approach the reception desk, with the glamorous young woman standing behind it, a door on the far left opened and a small, stocky man with greying auburn hair and bad teeth came striding out with two black suited security guards at his back. He put a cigar between his teeth and clenched in a half grin, half sneer. The vulturous press corp charged at him but a man with similar auburn hair and a long, almost sad face got there first. “Mr Weir! Sam Crusow of the Daily. Do you have any comments about your son?” Rodney waved his hands angrily. His teeth clenched down harder on his cigar. “Fuck off, you parasite!” he spat at Sam the reporter. “Who let these God damned vultures into my hotel?” he barked at a nearby staff member. “He was murdered. His lover is still missing,” Sam pressed. “Surely you have some comment to make?” Rodney growled. “My son wasn’t gay!” He turned to another couple of shell shocked staff members. “Get these blood suckers out of here.” The security men clasped Sam’s shoulders and started to lead him towards the exit. The other reporters rushed with their note pads in hand but they too were escorted roughly. Rodney turned to the guests who were lined up ready to check in. He gave them a grin. The glint of the chandelier made his hair spark in like flames. “Nothing to worry about folks,” he assured. “Enjoy your stay.” With that, he strode confidently from the hotel exit and into a waiting town car – shaking off some of the press as he did so. Cameron and Leslie looked at each other. Cameron was a little disturbed by the exchange but Leslie was intrigued. A murder?

They were given a room on the fourth floor. It wasn’t an elaborate suite. It was simple double room with the same fawn and red décor as the rest of the hotel. Leslie threw herself onto the bed.

“I think we ought to get used to this,” she teased. “With this new job we’ll have to start being good to ourselves.”

Cameron wheeled their suitcase into the corner. “I’m going to shower and change before my meeting. Getting to meet the man himself, Ernest Beckingridge.”

“Just a formality,” Ernest’s secretary had assured. “Mr Beckingridge is keen to have you on board.”

Even with that having been said Cam was still nervous. He was keen on making a good first impression.

“Will you be okay here alone?” he asked his wife.

Leslie stretched her limbs to their full length. “I’ll survive,” she gasped sarcastically. “I’m going to make use of all the amenities – facial, spa, manicure. All courtesy of Beck. They must really want to keep you sweet.”

Cameron grinned and pulled the grey shirt he wore off, exposing his toned abdomen. “Try not to get too caught up. We have dinner reservations at eight,” he warned.

Delphine was the finest French restaurant in the city and just a short walk from the hotel. Cameron and Leslie planned on having a meal there to continue their celebrations. Leslie was a restaurant connoisseur. The head chef at Delphine was a native of the beautiful coastal city of Luen. Bringing his skill to the city it just had to be sampled.

“Oh, I’ll be too drunk by then,” stated Leslie in jest. “You’ll find me passed out here.”

Cameron shook his head. “Yeah, Yeah,” he returned good-naturedly and disappeared into the bathroom. She heard the wash of the powerful shower before she finally sat up.

She opened their luggage and hung up her husbands best suit in the finely carved oak cupboard offered. In the next room she heard a heavy thud against the wall like someone had struck it with a hammer. There was a whimper – of pain rather than pleasure.

‘The things that must go on at hotels,’ she thought to herself. ‘If these walls could talk they would have some great stories.’

***

After Cameron left the hotel seemed to quieten. Leslie sat by the window and listened to the drone of the traffic out in City Main. Most of the press corp had left. Sam was still waiting for his story though, no matter how long it took. Coldford Police Department or CPD must have been called because as Sam pulled down the woollen hat he wore and patted his gloved hands together he was approached by two officers. One was a tall and imposing man. The other was a more petite, fair haired woman. The man said something to the reporter. Sam raised his hands and said something back with a scowl. Finally with words from the police woman he collected his bag and walked away. Leslie was sure it wouldn’t be the last time the Daily would pester Rodney Weir for a comment on the murder of his son.

Leslie changed into a swim suit, pulling a pair of pale blue shorts and a flowing blouse over it. She was a keen swimmer and the Weir Hotel boasted one of the best facilities.

The Olympic sized pool was located on the roof of the twenty story building.The pool room offered a panoramic view of the city. The corridor was well lit and warm unlike most other old hotels. The Weir chain was modern but with old fashioned class.

A woman in a long black trench coat stepped into the hallway at the same time as Leslie was leaving the room. The woman didn’t offer a friendly acknowledgement. If she hadn’t been so determined in her walk towards the room next door Leslie would have sworn she was blind. She wore a black Fedora hat. Her lips were painted a vibrant red. Her soft porcelain skin was painted was pale white compared to Leslie’s black. She strode down the corridor on the long legs of a dancer. When she reached the room next door she hesitated for a few moments watching Leslie fidgeting with a bag a round her neck to find the key to her own room – number 43. Finally the woman unlocked the door, hung a do not disturb sign on the handle and closed the room tightly behind her.

***

Leslie arrived at the restaurant just after eight. Cameron was nursing a glass of French beer. As he spotted the maitre’d point his wife in the direction of their table he stood. Leslie had changed into a red and black tea length dress. Her hair hung loosely and naturally around her shoulders.

Cameron raised the glass to his full lips and sipped.

“I knew you’d be late,” he said as she took the seat opposite. He sat back down too and sighed.

“I got so relaxed I fell asleep,” she jested.

Cameron shook his head and smiled. “I’m surprised you were able to sleep with all that noise going on next door,” he said. He too had heard the banging earlier that afternoon.

Leslie flicked a napkin and laid it across her lap.

“I saw the woman who is in that room. She’s a strange looking character. She looks like something from a cheesy detective story. She must be a dancer or something. She put the do not disturb sign on the door and I haven’t heard a peep since. The sign was still there when I left.”

Cameron raised his eyebrows. “The plot thickens …”

“So how was things at Beck? What is Ernest like?”

“I don’t know,” admitted the husband. “I didn’t get to meet him after all. Apparently he was called away on some kind of emergency. I still got the grand tour though.”

Leslie frowned. Her face was just as pretty when she did. “That’s a shame.”

“Maybe he’ll be along at some point this week,” Cameron reasoned.

Leslie lifted the empty water glass and raised it.

“Here’s to new opportunities in the Shady City,” she said. Her husband raised his glass too and they clinked them together. Leslie gave a wry smile. “What do you say we go back to the hotel room after this and make some noise of our own?”

***

Sirens blared from all branches of the Shady City emergency services. The street outside the Weir Hotel was filled with ambulances, fire trucks and police vans. Officers of the CPD had set up a line outside the main entrance as well as guards on the service entrances.

“Move back folks! Move back!” the officers were instructing.

Smoke was still bellowing from the fourth floor. The explosion had ripped through the entire floor making all levels above it unsteady. The guests and staff that had survived the blast had been evacuated.

Sam Crusow approached a young officer who was stationed on the corner. He kept his notebook in the breast pocket of the brown jacket he wore.

“Sam Crusow of the Daily,” he announced. “Can you tell me what happened here?”

The officer shook his head. He was younger than Sam. The line of freckles across his nose gave the appearance of a small boy playing police officer.

“Not for me to say, sir,” he replied. “You’re going to have to stand over there and the captain will give a statement soon.” He pointed to where the other reporters were chomping and gnashing for answers.

Sam knew the boy wouldn’t know anything. That was way above his responsibility level but he knew if he held his ground long enough and kept separated from the rest something of interest would come his way.

A few moments later two bodies were removed. The fire service had finally given the all clear for the coroners to start removing the dead.

“The blast came from a bomb in room 45. Cameron and Leslie Row were in the adjacent room according to the register.”

Sam took note of what was said before he was urged on again. As a reporter in the Shady City there was always a sensational story to be found. As the city tore itself apart it was always innocents like Leslie and her husband that were caught in the blast.

Enjoy this?

Sam is onto another sensational story in the Shady City. Click HERE to read the Knock, Knock series free on Vivika Widow Online or download for KU!

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There are secrets being held at the Beckingridge Manor. Enter music teacher Vincent as he faces his most difficult pupil yet. Click HERE to read Maestro.

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