Norman had his job cut out for him today. Eight of Boston's finest officers were on duty in front of the hotel to keep up the barrage against the screaming teenage girls trying to get into the Tipton Hotel. One of them tried sneaking in with Mrs. Collins and her daughters, but she quickly discounted her extra teenage daughter. Norman opened the door for her and let her in, and Officer Matt Kandros called in to manager Marion Moseby to confirm Maddie's identity as she arrived for work. Once he had the go-ahead, Kandros sheltered Maddie through the mob of screaming girls, the female screams of "I love you" and the surging hormones of every girl who felt in her heart she was meant to be the wife of the dashing young teen star upstairs in the hotel. The screams pierced the air. Their tricks to sneak in were many, but still, they did not enter.
"Who's staying in the Tipton, Norman?" Maddie asked.
"I'm not allowed to say." He responded with that tiredly aged voice of his. His daughters once screamed for Lee Majors and Donny Osmond, but his granddaughters were very much up on the teen stars of today. He wouldn't be surprised to see them out here in this mass of unbridled female idol worship.
Maddie continued on her way. Her perfect brown eyes perused the lobby from Zack and Cody racing by her side for the game room toward Arwin carrying a ladder to fix a light out in the ballroom in the rear of the hotel. Irene beamed to her as they met eyes. At the admissions desk, heiress London Tipton, mostly money but little on thinking, was holding on to manager Marion Moseby by his tie and throttling him.
"Who is it?!" She screamed. "I know there's a celebrity in this hotel! Who is it?"
"Well," Moseby lightly shook her off to compose himself. "It's not Orlando Bloom." He straightened his tie. "He won't stay in this hotel since you nearly electrocuted him."
"I didn't know that lamp was electrical." London answered. "I thought was magical."
"Yes, well…" Moseby continued to compose himself. "I'll never tell." He gestured to Esteban Ramirez, one of his bellboys to deliver a large haul of luggage upstairs. Maddie looked over the overfilled luggage cart. It was a complete matched set; very few guests had a truly matched set unless they were wealthy. A brief look to London, she dashed a bit ahead of Esteban as he rolled to the elevator.
"Who's the famous guest, Esteban?" She cooed to him in a sweet giggle.
"I can't tell you, Mrs. Maddie." He apologized. "I really can't." London groaned at this interference. She had ways to get him to talk.
"Who is it?!" London grabbed Esteban by his collar and pulled him down to her height. Her cute face contorted into a vicious scowling configuration of hostility.
"Mrs. London…" Esteban choked on her grip. "Mr. Moseby would fire me if I told you Zac Efron was in the hotel!" He caught himself too late. London and Maddie looked at each other in accelerated heart-pumping excitement.
"Zac Efron!!" Maddie screamed. "Oh my god! I have to meet him!!" Her heart started beating faster.
"Oh please!" London looked at her. "I'm going to marry him!" She kept Esteban's head in her grip and shook him around.
"I have a better chance of meeting him!" Maddie screamed back. "I look exactly like Ashley Tisdale!!"
"In what world?!" London was choking Esteban during her argument with Maddie. She released him and dashed to the elevators with Maddie by her side. They scuffled and pushed each other trying to eliminate the other one. London elbowed Maddie, and Maddie pushed her back to hit the button of the elevator. Only one of them was going to meet Zac, and it was going to be the one who could pummel the other one. Lifting himself off the floor of the lobby, Esteban looked up to Arwin lifting him up.
"Mr. Moseby is going to kill me!" Esteban feared for his job.
"Hey," Arwin dusted off his buddy with a whiskbroom. "At least you didn't say which room he's in."
"Hey… you're right…" Arwin composed himself and started walking away to resume his job. Behind him, he heard the elevators again and looked back. The first thing he saw was Maddie and London coming after him. They jumped after him trying to make a getaway and pushed him to the floor.
"Which room, Esteban?!" Maddie had him prostrate on the floor.
"I won't tell!" The worn-over bellboy commiserated. "I won't tell."
"You girls are plum out of luck." Arwin mugged a bit cockily. "Zac Efron is in Boston to film a movie called Halloween Musical with Jesse McCartney, Vanessa Anne Hudgins and Hillary Duff, and Mr. Collins is the creative writer and director behind it."
"Mr. Collins?" London knew him. He was the Collins family heir who wrote those horror movies and led paranormal teams into haunted houses. He rented Suite 613 in the hotel.
"He's in Mr. Collins' suite!" Maddie screamed. London had dashed to the elevators first. She slammed hard to the back of the only open elevator and turned round to push Maddie out of it. She laughed and mocked Maddie as the doors closed. Snarling at her and wishing she had the heiress's skinny neck in her hands, Maddie noticed the other elevator opening and vaulted herself into it past the guests coming out of it. She hit the button for the sixth floor and hurriedly jumped up and down as it closed that she might catch up with London.
"Wow!" Arwin and Esteban looked at each other. "I can't believe she was able to deduce that."
"I hope Mr. Moseby doesn't discover what we did." Esteban looked back to the elevators.
"Why?" Moseby's voice was right behind them. "What did you do?" He sounded angry.
On the sixth floor, London raced from the elevator running left then right. She rarely came on this floor, and she had a vague idea which door was Mr. Collins's suite. All she recalled was that it was the same one that she and several others had held a séance in to contact the alleged ghost that was supposed to haunt the hotel. Collins had started renting it because of that reason. London dashed one way and around trying to count the room numbers in sequence, but then she heard the elevator behind her. She looked round to Maddie tackling her to the carpet.
"Me first!" Maddie screamed.
"He's my husband!" London screeched and rolled over with Maddie trying to crawl away from her. She stood and grabbed the candy counter girl by the left foot and began dragging her from the suite. Maddie tried clawing herself free then used her other foot to knock her captive foot free. London hit the wall, and Maddie started ascending to her feet. Her hand reached up to knock at the door, but one thing kept her rapping at the door. It was London's grabbing her by the scruff of her hotel uniform and pulling her from the door. She was being pulled back, back, back… London might have been little, but she was a little bit of a powerhouse. She pushed Maddie hard to the wall to knock the breath out of her and then lurched open the housekeeper's closet in the corner with her free hand. With her last breath, she pushed Maddie into it and slammed the door. Hitting the floor inside, Maddie was covered in complete darkness once the door slammed shut.
"Ow…" She winced upon the sudden impact. This fighting took a lot out of her. Gasping and breathing quickly, she lifted herself up aching from her head to her toes feeling around the darkness. Her head banged briefly into the steel shelf for a nasty lump to her head. Fumbling around a bit more, she held her hand out to complete darkness and wavered unsteadily on her feet looking for the light switch. She felt the other wall and looked round to the barely glowing streak of light on the floor coming under the door to the hall. She limped on her sore foot and rubbed her injured hip as she reached to open the door. It wouldn't open. There was a chair on the other side.
"Oh no, she didn't!!" Maddie rattled and pushed against the door. She was barricaded in and not getting out without help. She was only getting out if she could reach someone. Taking a deep breath, Maddie called out as loud as she could.
"Help me!!" Her voice pierced the floor. Her hand meanwhile passed over the light switch and she flicked it on. It was a windowless room with a dual sink in back and wood shelves for fresh linens and a metal shelf to the other floor for cleaning supplies. Her eyes passed up to the air-conditioning vent over the top shelf. She was suddenly reminded of Zack and Cody crawling through them as boys. Well, if they could do it, so could she. Determined to meet Zack Efron and Jesse McCartney in person, she placed her foot on the bottom shelf then lifted her foot off the floor for the next one. Her breath gasped as she climbed up the side of it, but as she reached the vent, she realized it was not secured to the wall. With her weight on the side of it, the whole shelf began tilting toward her. Her eyes widened in shock and the back of her head hit the wood shelves behind her on the other wall. The entire crash lasted only a second. With a loud crash, Maddie hit the floor again and was buried under heavy bottles of bleach, spilling bottles of cleaner, aerosol cans of disinfectant and air fresheners. On top of that, the broken wood shelf the steel shelves had crashed through collapsed and unleashed a fifty-pound load of sheets and pillowcases. Buried at the bottom, Maddie felt the air crushed from her lungs.