Disclaimer: None of the characters from the show belong to me, they belong to Fox. Everyone else does.
A/N: So, I'll be the first to admit North Shore is no O.C. but it's a good summer filler. And since I requested this category, I figured I'd better write a fic based around the show. So, it's set after the episode "My Boyfriend's Back", which is the one where Tessa and her friend turn the tables on Roy. So, review and let me know what you think; it's four in the morning so I can't promise it's going to start our great, but just let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Tessa Lewis didn't think she had ever seen a day where the sky above the Grand Waimea Hotel was anything but crystalline blue but as she gazed past the sparkling, towering sides of the building where she worked, she could see nothing but clouds. This did nothing to brightened her already somber mood and she sighed as she looked away from the depressing sky, trudging toward the perfectly polished entrance. It wasn't uplifting to think that it even got cloudy in paradise.
Some paradise this has turned out to be, Tessa thought as she forced herself to smile at the men who pulled the double doors open for her as she stepped into the lobby. In all truth, life so far at the Grand Waimea hadn't been too bad, hell she'd lived through much worse. But it wasn't exactly what she'd had in mind when she'd found herself jetting off to Hawaii with that jerk-off Roy. But then again, who was the one behind bars now? That thought give Tessa a genuine smile as she strolled toward the customer relations desk, where it promptly disappeared when she caught sight of who was standing behind the polished oak. Nicole Booth, with that ever present dentist altered grin on her face, as she cheerily assured the spoiled guest in front of her that his every request would be accounted for.
Tessa sighed to herself as she pushed aside the swinging door that allowed her access to whatever happened to be behind the counter, feeling herself tense at the thought of the morning's Nicole Booth Encounter. It wasn't as though she didn't like Nicole...well, that did pretty much sum up how she felt about the leggy brunette that seemed to have everything, including her own hotel if rumors proved to one day be true. Tessa had often wondered if girls like Nicole had ever known a moment without daddy's credit car and a perfect beau on one arm and that was the main reason she quiet nearly despised her co-worker. Call it petty jealously, but it was there and both women knew it.
"Thank you for choosing the Grand Waimea." Nicole said, her voice light, smile large, as she waved a cheerful goodbye to the guest she had been dealing with at that moment.
Tessa let the door swing shut behind her, the creaking noise catching Nicole's attention and causing her to shift her attention away from the lobby. "Tessa." She greeted, almost icily. "You're almost late."
"Almost." Tessa pointed out, smoothing out her shirt so that she looked just as poised and professional as Nicole. "But I'm not late." Nicole didn't have anything to say and decided to turn her attention toward other matters.
"We have an interesting little problem." Nicole began and Tessa wondered just how interesting a problem could have developed recently. "A guest's luggage got put on the wrong plane and it arrived before he did." Tessa raised an eyebrow, a silent prompt to continue. "Among the suitcases was a pet carrier."
Nicole nudged aside several suitcases at her feet to reveal a miniature dog carrier, complete with miniature, yipping dog inside. Tessa scoffed, looking down at the dog scratching at the wire mesh and then back at Nicole. "What do you want me to do about it?" She questioned. "I handle guest relations, not pet care."
"I know that." Nicole answered shortly. "But I think making sure nothing happens to this little dog until the owner arrives would be part of your job description."
Tessa wondered what contract she had been reading but forced herself to plaster on a huge, and clearly, fake smile. "Sure." She said as cheerily as Nicole had spoken moments earlier. "Anything to assist the Grand Waimea."
Nicole glared at her for a moment, trying to figure out if she should even put the energy into a comeback. "Excellent." She muttered instead, pushing past Tessa and heading through the swinging door and into the lobby.
Tessa took the position Nicole had been standing in seconds before, sighing and resting her elbows on the counter, propping her chin in the palm of her hand. The tiny dog yipped obnoxiously at her feet and she rolled her eyes. Just another day in paradise.
Jason Matthews wasn't exactly glad that he bumped into Nicole when he did, but it saved him the trouble of trying to decide whether or not he should spend the time looking for her. She seemed intent to breeze right past him, no doubt on her way to spend precious time with her fiancé and he grabbed her elbow, forcing her to stop.
"Nicole," she focused her eyes on him. "We might have a bit of a problem."
Nicole sighed; it seemed like the morning for problems. Perhaps it wasn't as serious as she was trained to believe; Jason didn't look all that concerned, after all. "And that problem is?" She prompted.
"One of the maids, cleaning floor twenty-five as reported that her room keys have gone missing." Jason explained and Nicole sighed.
Though it rarely happened, every-so-often a mischievous guest would manage to swipe a room key or two and get into the rooms the keys belonged to. Sometimes it could be a problem, with stuff stolen from suitcases and drawers, but most of the time it was just bored kids with nothing else to do. "The keys to what rooms?" Nicole questioned, figuring they could put the occupants on their guard.
Jason sighed as well. "That's the thing. All of the keys were stolen."
Nicole's eyes went wide. "What?" She questioned incredulously. "I thought the maids were trained to keep stuff like that from happening." Two keys one thing but Jason was talking about at least twenty keys stolen right out from under a maid's nose.
"They are." Jason said, sounding much like he was defending whoever was seemingly at fault. "The maid said that she turned around to pull some fresh liens from her cart and then the keys were gone."
Nicole exhaled through her teeth. "Incredible." She murmured. "And she didn't see anyone in the hall?"
Jason shrugged his shoulders. "She didn't mention anyone." He answered. "I figure our best course of action right now is to look for the keys, such all the floors, keep an eye on the rooms."
Nicole nodded in agreement. "What guest would want to steal twenty room keys?" She questioned, though her words were meant to be more rhetorical.
"I guess we'll know when we find that person." Jason answered, raising an eyebrow and releasing Nicole's elbow.
Without another word, he continued into the lobby, leaving Nicole staring after him for a moment. And then, with a sigh, she continued on her way up the stairs.
Tessa was trying to complete the crossword puzzle in that morning's edition of the paper when a seemingly distraught, middle-aged, pudgy woman came rushing toward the desk. She lifted her eyes from the blank squares and straightened up, trying to force on her best 'how can I help you?' smile. The words weren't even out of her mouth when the woman was prepared to answer them. "There's someone in my room." She said breathlessly and Tessa looked at her with interest. "Someone I don't know."
"Uh-huh." Tessa said. "And you just walked into your room and saw that person standing there?"
The woman shook her plump head. "No. They're in my shower." She clarified and Tessa raised an eyebrow. This was interesting.
"In your shower." The younger woman repeated. "And you're certain that it's no one you know."
The woman nodded in earnest. "Yes, I am quite certain." She said. "There is a stranger in my shower."
Tessa set aside her pen. "All right, then." She said, pushing aside the swinging door and stepping out from behind the counter. "We'll just find one of the managers and get up to your room."
The woman followed Tessa eagerly, continuing her rant about how frightened she was to hear someone singing in her shower when she came into her room. Tessa managed to nod at all the right moments but her mind was focused solely on finding Jason, the only person she'd even consider coming to with a question about anything.
Jason was standing by one of the perfectly polished and smooth ruining fountains in the middle of the lobby, patiently telling two small boys not to throw change in the water. He looked up, smiling slightly when he saw Tessa heading in his direction, with a large woman in tow. "Good morning Tessa." He greeted, smiling at the woman as well. "Is everything all right?" This question was addressed to the woman.
Tessa gestured to the lady behind her. "She says that she came into her room and found a stranger in her shower." She explained.
Jason's eyes went wide, his mind instantly backtracking toward the missing room keys. "And what floor are you on, ma'am?"
"Twenty-five." She supplied and Jason nodded, almost knowingly.
"There's been reports that several room keys were stolen earlier this morning." He explained. "Looks like yours was one of them." Jason gestured toward the elevator. "If you'll come with me, we'll get this straightened out."
Jason and the woman headed toward the elevators and Tessa tagged along. As he pushed the button to call the elevator cab down, Jason turned back to look at the young employee. "Don't you have a job to do?" He asked, not unkindly.
"Not unless you consider babysitting a dog doing my job." Tessa said, stepping into the cab with Jason and the guest.
Jason raised an eyebrow. "A dog?" He repeated.
"Nicole can fill you in later." Tessa assured him.
In moments the cab had reached the desired floor and the doors slid open soundlessly. Jason was surprised to see Nicole standing outside the doors, no doubt waiting for the elevator to return her to the lobby. Her eyes settled on the trio and she questioned, "What's going on?"
"This woman has reported that there's a stranger in her hotel room." Jason answered as he stepped out of the cab behind Tessa and the guest in question. "I thought it was probably related to the stolen room keys."
Nicole tagged along as the trio headed toward the woman's hotel room; she used her hotel key to open the door and hung back, urging Jason to go in first. Tessa followed closely after Jason, savoring the look that Nicole gave her.
As soon as they stepped into the room, it was clear that there was someone indeed in the room, singing off-key in the shower, which was running so hot that the room was beginning to steam up. Jason cleared his throat and rapped on the door with his knuckles. "Hello? Who's in there?" He called, hoping he could be heard above the running shower.
There was no answer and the singing continued. Nicole looked at Jason and shrugged her shoulders; he knocked on the door again, louder this time, but there was still no response. "Okay," he cleared his throat again. "We're coming in."
The door opened without problem when Jason turned the knob, swinging open to reveal a foggy bathroom. Nicole stepped forward, knocking on the shower door before sliding the door open. The young woman inside gave a loud cry of surprise and quickly hopped out of the way, snatching a towel off the hanger on the wall behind her and pressing it against her body. "What the hell?!" She shouted, blinking soap and shampoo out of her eyes.
Tessa let out a sigh of disbelief as she studied the girl quickly wrapping a damp towel around herself. Even with damp hair tangled with shampoo and confused eyes, there was no mistaking the girl inside the shower. "My God." She sighed, rolling her eyes, feeling nothing but utter disbelief. "Ashlee."
The girl blinked and looked up, smiling when her eyes settled on Tessa. "Hey Tess."