The Last Place You Look
Chapter One: Incidents and Accidents
by Aeris Tiniel Mirime

Disclaimer: Neither The Suite Life nor any associated names and places belong to me. They are Disney's and It's a Laugh Productions'.

"Words, words, mere words. No matter from the heart."
-Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida

It was another day at the Tipton Hotel. Bellhops were scurrying to and fro, Norman was ushering visitors in and out the doors, and Mr. Moseby was busy checking in guests while ignoring Arwin, who was trying to show him a design for a robot that could check the guests in itself. Carey Martin, meanwhile was getting in an early warmup for her evening show. Her twin sons, fresh from school, tumbled into the lounge.

"Hey, Mom," they greeted her. "Big show tonight?"

"Yup, she said. "I'm singing for the mayor."

"Cool, can we watch you practice?"

"Well, you know it'd be pretty hard to practice in between breaking up your fights."

Where most boys would have protested that they wouldn't get into a fight, the Martin boys simply agreed that their mother had a point. At this point, Esteban walked into the lounge on one of his various errands for Mr. Moseby.

"Oh Esteban, are you busy?" Carey called to him.

"Right now, yes. Mr. Moseby has asked to me to find him a - "

Knowing Esteban's love of minor details, such as his unusually long full name, the singer stopped him before he gave them a ten minute sermon on what exactly Moseby had asked him to find.

"Are you going to be busy in a few minutes?"

"Nope." he said simply

"Great. Could you take the boys up to our suite for me? I'll only be a little while longer."

"Sure. It's almost time for Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, anyway. We can watch it together. "

Carey gave him one of her motherly warning looks and he cringed.

"I mean, uh - it's almost time to start their homework?"

"That's better," Carey smiled.

Upon entering the suite, Zack sat down on the couch and popped open one of the grape drinks his mother had set out. She always left fruit juices out for them, wanting them to be healthy instead of just guzzling sodas all the time.

Cody went into the kitchen and retrieved a bag of potato chips to snack on.

"Ooh, chips!" Zack said, and promptly snatched them out of his brother's hand.

"You could have at least asked for them," Cody suggested.

"Yeah, but why waste time?"

"You are so rude."

"No, this would be rude," Zack said, giving Cody a shove, to which Cody responded in kind.

A shoving match would have ensued but for Esteban's interference. He picked both boys up by their collars and held them above the ground.

"Now you little peoples need to behave," he scolded.

"Well, it would be easier if Zack wasn't such a jerk," Cody said, scowling at Zack.

"It would be easier if you just let me have the dang chips," Zack answered back

"Or maybe if you learned some manners," Cody said, reaching his foot out to try and kick at his twin

"You call kicking good manners?" Zack asked, as he also tried to kick his brother's outstretched leg.

As the two were swinging back and forth, their flailing feet made contact with Zack's abandoned grape juice can. All motion stopped as the three watched it fly through the air spraying stains all over on the carpet, and land with a splash on the couch, creating a large purple puddle on the cushions.

Simultaneously, the three pondered their fates aloud.

"What's Mom going to say?" cried Cody

"What's Mr. Moseby going to say?" wondered Zack

"What's Maddie going to say?" fretted Esteban.

"Maddie?" the twins asked, confused. They both turned to stare at him.

"What about her?" Esteban asked, still staring worriedley at the multiple stains.

"You said 'What's Maddie going to say'"

"I did?"

"Yeah," Cody said, then gasped. "Do you like her?" he asked suddenly.

"Huh? No, she is only a friend."

"It's ok if you do like her. Actually, I think you two would be cute together," Cody smiled, pretending not to hear the gagging noises Zack was making behind him.

"Huh." Esteban said again, wondering why her name come out of his mouth without him realizing it?

"Well, she is normally the boys' babysitter, and she never lets them get into trouble," he thought to himself. "And I don't want to look like a bad caretaker, which I will if compared to Maddie." And that, he concluded, was the reason why he said her name.

Having reached this conclusion, he promptly put the thought from his mind to make way for more pressing matters. "Come on," he told the twins, "let's try to fix this before your mom gets here. Do you guys have any Spot-Shot?"

"Yeah, I'll get it." Zack volunteered, forgetting his attitude in his eagerness to avoid punishment.

"And I'll get some towels," Cody chimed in.

And so they went to work.

Earlier that day London and Maddie were sitting in their math class at school. Maddie was taking notes, and London was trying to look inconspicuous as she peered at Maddie's writing, then copied it into her own notebook. The nun at the front of the class was trying to teach them about the difference between sines, cosines, and tangents, but was only succeeding in putting the students to sleep. Maddie tried to keep herself awake by doodling in the margins of her notes. She drew flowers, hearts, stars, and all kinds of simple shapes, and when she had drawn every shape she could think of, she began to write her name in as many different fonts as she could. Unfortunately, the mindless activity wasn't doing much to relieve her drowsiness, but London loudly whispering her name did manage to get her attention.

"Maddie, is there something you want to tell me?" London asked.

"Uh, no. Why?" Maddie responded. "What kind of weird question is that?"

"Oh, I don't know," London said airily, but suddenly hissed, "I was just wondering why you have the name Esteban written all over your paper!"

"What! I do not! Look," she said, holding up her spiral. "It says Mad - oh..."

"Madoh? I thought your name was Maddie?"

Maddie ignored her. For there on her paper, where Maddie had been drawing, she saw that she had written

Maddie Fitzpatrick
Esteban JRMDR Ramirez

How had she written all that and not even noticed it? She really must have been zoning out. But why would Esteban's name come to her mind while she wasn't paying attention?

"Do you like him?" London asked.

"What? No." Maddie said.

"Well, you wrote his name next yours."

It was just because she had been so zoned out, Maddie thought. Work was practically her life, so it was only natural that she should write someone from the Tipton's name down subconsciously. Especially since she and Esteban both had really long names. But she wouldn't have been surprised if she had had written down Cody, or Norman, or even Mr. Moseby.

"Girls," came a voice from the front of the room. They looked and saw their teacher staring at them. "Keep the noise down."

Thus the two were forced to cut their conversation short. London pretended to study the notes she had copied from Maddie, while Maddie flipped her pencil over to erase the names she had written. But she did not put her eraser to the page. If she were to erase them it would seem like she was embarassed about them being there. Stubbornly, she decided was going to leave them there just to prove that they didn't mean anything.