Chapter - 1 Double Shift
Stephanie Meyers owns every thing Twilight
A/N: This chapter is an opening. It will not be graphic and you might feel like it's taking you nowhere. That's what I need Bella to do!
PS ~ in this fic I'm a HEA kinda girl in my own warped way.
Also, there is no Beta on the early chaps. At the end I found one but she's busting her ass for my new project soooo... *hint, hint,* if there are any Beta's reading this and willing to help me let me know!!!!
Rene named it Swan Hotel but really it's a run down Super 8 that Charlie bought her for a project.
He cashed in his 401K to appease her, rather to keep her. Ever since, Rene has been the half brained manager of the motel, not hotel.
In her grand dreams of her endeavorer she saw it as a five star resort. I'm just impressed that it's maintained her attention for the eight years.
I do most of the accounting, group reservations, and well, I run the damn dump but Charlie and I let Rene think that she's in charge. Neither of us want an episode like the last time.
Both of us want to keep her calm, stable, and on her meds. Both of us want to give her a happy bubble that she can feel in charge off.
Neither of us want the separation like last time or the hospitalization. I know that if she left again I would go with her. I also know that I don't want to go anywhere or else I would already be gone.
She ran away when I was six and returned to Charlie when I was thirteen. Those seven years were hell.
At least with Charlie someone else can watch over her instead of her kid. I love Rene but I'm not a shrink, I wasn't an adult, and living day to day was horrid for us both.
The Swan Hotel is off of a strip of highway near a Six Flags amusement park. We are busy in the summer and dead the rest of the year.
Just like the other ten hotels/motels on the strip of highway. We all fight for the same off season businesses, sports teams, and wedding parties. Since we don't have grand ballrooms, or even room service, we don't win the wars for the weddings but we do get the lower class office traffic and truckers.
The lacrosse teams stay at the Hampton or the Hilton but some of the soccer teams will lower themselves to stay in our simple accommodations. The parents of those spoiled private kid brats are worse than the brats.
Anyway, that was a main function for me in the motel. To cater to all the groups and keep the business coming in year after year. We finally got internet about two years ago. It was hard to convenience any business person to stay here if they couldn't even check their emails.
It's bullshit though. None of them look at their emails. The men are all to busy watching porn and the chicks, well who in the fuck knows what they do but I'm sure it's not checking work email.
Some of our regulars have become my good friends. Against the wishes of Rene I give them the same rate during the busy season as the off season. She doesn't even notice because she'd have to review the nightly audits to see the average daily room rate. She doesn't. The facade that she runs the place keeps her here. Charlie and I both know what we need to do to keep Rene sane so we do it.
The Swan Hotel is defiantly the most trashy of all the places to sleep off of exit 143. It's not that the place is dirty, because I would never allow that. It's just not high class.
It seriously was a Super 8 that went up for sale. Billy Black, Charlie's best friend is half silent owner in the motel. His son, Jacob, is the full time maintenance man. He's strange in a silent way. I like him. He keeps to himself, keeps his office neat, and never gawks at me like most men.
I work the night shift to avoid most human contact and because I can't sleep. I have the strangest dreams that conjure images of leaving Sparksboro.
Not that I want to stay in this shit midwest town forever but I don't know where I'd go if I left. I have only lived in Ohio and Washington. When Rene fled Ohio to Forks Washington and then returned to Ohio, I swore I would never leave.
Since I haven't had to urge to abandon the dire existence in my twenty-three years, I guess I'd be kidding myself to believe that I ever will leave.
"Did you keep a few rooms blocked off from Orbit and Travelocity?" Rene is running around the back office making sure I have enough money in the cash register and placing the order for the nightly doughnut delivery.
It's the only two things she does for the hotel besides order the cleaning supplies for the housekeepers. I don't know how she spends six days a week, eight hours a day, doing the same small tasks over and over. Again, it keeps her mind busy and focused so that's all that matters. Shit, she could just be playing solitaire on the computer for eight hours and Charlie would be happy. As long as she's not breaking down and is here in Sparksboro, that's all that matters to him.
The scatter brain desk clerk Jessica called off today. She should be fired but Rene can't bring herself to letting go of one of her longest employees.
"Yeah Rene, I already blocked four rooms so I can charge the pathetic idiots that didn't book a room in advance over $200 for our wonderful accommodations."
Its the oldest trick in the motel world... When you know your busy, always save a few rooms because the "nicer" Hotels always overbook their reservations and some poor smuck is left to fend for their fucking selves in a town they don't know shit about.
Somehow it's always a family of five with three kids sunburnt and sticky with cotton candy from Six flags. They smell of sweat. Thick layers of sweat and iron from the roller coasters.
Usually one of the kids is about to puke from all the junk they ate at the park. The mom is exhausted and the dad is pissed. They dole out any money for a bed and a rollaway cot, and I of course charge them an extra $20 bucks for the lumpy bed on wheels.
"OK baby, good. You always make sure that stuff if taken care of for me. I don't know what I'd do without you!"
Rolling my eyes I review the list of names that are due to check in and start making the room keys so I don't get slammed. I have no help tonight except for Mike. He is the evening maintenance person we hire during the summer months to handle all the problems with the old motel.
He makes sure the pool has the appropriate chlorine levels, runs towels to rooms, and finds extra pillows for the bitching guests. Of course motel pillows are flat. If you wanted pancake fluffy fucking pillows bring your own or better yet, pay for a more expensive hotel.
God I hate the public. The customer is not always right. I have to bit my tongue until it almost bleeds to keep my smile on my face and my personal thoughts in check.
Mike also fixes air conditioners, vending machine meltdowns, and clogged toilets.
The rest of the time he sits behind the front desk with me flirting. I have known him and denied him affection since high school when Rene returned to Charlie.
Mike remembered me from kindergarden and brought me into the popular circle when we returned to Sparksboro. It was a circle I never enjoyed.
"Baby, your going to be ok here tonight, right? Mike will be with you. I am so lucky that he still work here during his summer break. I'm so proud that he went to OSU. He's like a son of mine. Gosh, I remember the two of you playing in the yard, ridding your four wheelers up and down the sidewalk in your diapers."
I have to hear about her adoration of Mike and our early childhood every time she mentions Mike's name.
"Don't you have to get home to Charlie? Isn't he taking you to Applebees tonight for date night?"
Rene and Charlie promised to have a date night once a week. They both claimed it keeps the relationship fresh. Again, fortunately I always worked the night shift so I didn't have to hear how "fresh" it kept their relationship.
"OH! That's right! It's Friday. Alright, yes then, I need to get going. I think you have everything you need to make it through the shifts. Your sure you can handle sixteen hours? I asked Alice to come in a bit early but seven in the morning is already early for her."
"I'll be fine."
"Have you been sleeping Baby?"
I hate her pet name for me. "Yes," sighing I turn to see the hunter green 1991 minivan pulling in with Michigan license plates. I bet their from Kalamazoo. Six Flags must do heavy advertising in that area because almost all people from Michigan are from Kalamazoo or Detroit.
I see the fat wife pulling her sticky skin off of the leather seats.
Yup, another Six Flags causality coming to check in and hit the pool. It's so foul how all these people sweat all day long and then cleanse their bodies in the pool. At the end of the night when I shut down the pool there is a thin layer of sun tan lotion, body oils and dirty scum that floats on the top. It looks like an oil leak in a parking lot.
"Alright then. Have a good night. Call me if you need anything. I checked all the rooms today and Rose did a great job. I knew that she would make a wonderful housekeeping supervisor. There wasn't a stray hair in the bathrooms. All the towels were folded right and the mini fridges were empty. You know how gross it is when there's left over juice boxes and pizza in a those little fridges. Half the time people get more than 50% off the room when that happens and we just can't keep giving away the hotel rooms!"
Motel rooms Rene, this is a freaking motel.
My mind wanders to the beautiful Rosalie and her dismal position in this shit hole motel.
Rose hates being called Rose. "Yeah, Mom, Rosalie is doing a great job. I'm a little surprised. I didn't think that she was the housekeeper type." I click my tongue against the roof of my mouth because I'm trying to refrain from adding a few other choice words about Rosalie. We don't get along, and that's putting it mildly.
Kissing my check Rene flits out from behind the back office and smiles at the fat woman from Michigan approaching the front desk to check in. The woman gives her an rude stare. I hate tourists.
My night went as most do, very quickly for the three to eleven shift. It's the busiest time at the hotel besides the morning feeding frenzy. People act like they have never seen toast, little boxes of cereal and doughnuts. The worst is when they load up trays worth of food, drag it to their room, and then just leave the shit food to rot. If your going to take the damn food then eat it or shove it in your suitcase so it's not... wasted.
I hate the three in the afternoon to eleven at night shift but love the eleven to seven am shift. Rene chides me all the time for being a night owl. Charlie hates that I work the night shift because, "It's when all the freaks check in." It's also, "When the most robberies occur."
That's why I lock the doors and I promptly do that at midnight during the summer. During the winter I usually lock them around ten but Six Flags closes at ten. It's a pain to run to the door every five minutes to let the sticky, stinking tourists in.
Generally, after midnight no one comes to the motel.
"Hey there bright eyes. You get off at eleven?"
I can see the wanton desire in Mike's eyes. I have fucked him a few times over the years. He took my virginity and it sucked, really bad, no mythical trumpets from heaven rained down on my parade.
He's not the best in bed (not that I would know since he's the only person I have slept with but from all the stories from friends it's gotta be better than what I've experienced). He's physically fit and since I never get the chance to screw anyone else, I take what I can get. I also have a silent trust in Mike. I know that he will never hurt me and he's disease free. It's like a free tank of gas. You hate pumping it but it gets you by.
"Nope, I'm here until seven am."
"Shit! Your pulling sixteen hours? Why?"
Dryly I reply, "The wonderful Jessica Stanley."
"That blows. I was hoping we could hit a bar after your shift."
I will be hitting my own bar in my bedroom once I get back home but other than that there would be no party for me tonight. It's alright, I prefer to drink alone anyway. I hate loud places.
"Yeah, well, that's how shit goes down when the drama queen has a cold..."
We both know that she's not sick. I'm sure someone asked her out, so she ditched her shift, like always.
"I don't know why your Mom puts up with her lack of responsibilities." Shaking his head his clean cut hair does not move from the gel that makes it stand up straight. Sometimes I want to rake my fingers through his controlled hair. Sometimes I want him to be a different person all together.
"I'm actually surprised that she didn't come to work since you are working here again for the summer." I raise an eyebrow at him and he starts to blush.
"Awe fuck Bell's don't call me out on that shit. You know that I only tapped it because it was warm and willing."
I laugh, "You know that I don't care! She just, well, I'm sure that she still wishes you would have loved her instead of..." No Bella, don't do this, you know what's going to happen, stop it you, you, bitch...
Taking his hand he lifts my chin so I am forced to stare into his grey eyes, "Instead of you?"
I swat his hand away like an annoying fruit fly from my chin and start to fidget with a paperclip. "I didn't mean to go there Mike."
"You never mean to do what you do to me. I know, I know..." His voice is full of frustration leaking like bile from an alcoholics hole riddled stomach lining. "I got shit to do with the pool." Stiffly he walks off towards the outdoor pool.
Why do I always do that? Why do I always remind him about his pointless emotions for me? It's not that I don't want to feel the same emotions for Mike. For fuck sake, if I could love I so would love him but I can't.
There is no one for me and I accepted that a long time ago. Mike got me through some physical requirements my hormonal teenage body desired.
For him our moments were sky rocketing fire works. For me, they were pathetic moments in his parent's basement or the back of his car.
I keep on fiddling with the paperclip and see my journal laying on the back desk. Heading to it I open it and see this mornings journal entry. I can barely read my writing since it's all slurred with the alcohol that blankets my brain every morning.
Slamming it shut, I turn on the little radio behind the desk to occupy my mind until the next tired traveler comes into the motel.
Hours pass, all the reservations showed up and I have sold two of the four rooms that I blocked off.
"Hey, my shifts over." Mike takes his hand and traces it down my long, brown hair. He loves my hair and touches it as often as I will allow him.
I begin to step back from him, "Have a good night. Go to the bar and have a good time."
I can barely hear him mumble the words as he walks closer to me, "Good time, yeah fucking right."
More chipper than I should sound I tell him, "Have a beer, or five, for me. If you see Jessica out tell her to screw off for me." I wanted to illicit a smile from his drooping grey eyes.
His tight lips smile, "She would get the wrong impression." He leans over and kisses the top of my head.
I start to feel like I'm suffocating. I can't stand the lack personal space that Mike longs to not exist between us.
I wish I could hold onto him like he wants me too. I wish I could give him everything and send the pain to a different zip code. Pain that I don't even understand why it exists. Ugh!
Still running his hand over my hair his lips don't leave my head and he begins to wrap his left arm around my waist. His right hand starts to swoop my hair away from my ear.
I shiver at the air, to thick and humid, breathing into my ear, "I could stay here with you instead."
Forcefully I pull away from his arms. He isn't getting any sex from me this summer. Each time we fuck, it's like he becomes more attached to me.
I can't hurt him more than I already have. I start to ponder why in the hell he hasn't found a girlfriend at OSU.
He's premed, attractive enough, comes from a good family, has money, and is a great guy (like he kisses puppies and shit).
He's the kind of guy that any girl should love.
Maybe it's me. Maybe I prevent him from ever finding someone worth while. I shouldn't be so freaking cocky but I don't understand what his connection to me is. It's pathetic, flattering, and, well, annoying.
"Mike, go and have fun. Maybe you'll run into Lauren." My tone is obvious. Lauren and Jessica carry a torch for Mike and both of them hate me for the eternal dedication he has towards me.
Huffing, "Yeah, maybe they can help me with this freaking boner."
I turn to him a little shocked but I see the stiff grin on his face.
I push out a forced laugh. "Have fun, alright?"
"Sure, sure, fun as always... I hate that you work the damn night shift. Do you want me to swing by after the bar to see if your alright?"
Ugh, why does everyone think I can't handle myself on this shift? I've been working it for four years now and for four years I have fought with the overprotective male bullshit. "I have my cell, the panic button, a regular phone line and the ability to lock the doors. Really, I'm fine." I don't mention the pepper spray because its ridiculous that Charlie forces me to have one behind the counter. I am in OHIO!!! It's not like DC or NY for christ sake.
Running his hand down my hair for the final time he left from behind the front desk and out automatic double doors into the cool summer night. Thank God the summer is almost over. There is only a few more weekends of summer and tourists. The motel will calm into it's autumn and winter slumber.
Sighing I slump into the chair in the back office. I watch the TV that shows clips from the live cameras all around the hotel. Watching Mike's car pull out of the parking lot I rest my head on the back of the chair and close my eyes.
What the fuck is wrong with me? Why can't I feel? Why can't I just return Mike's emotions? Sometimes I think I need to go to the doctor and ask for anti depression medication or something. Maybe I'm more like Rene than I care to admit.
I'm not sure how much time passed, maybe an hour... It was odd.
I felt like I was in a black hole of quicksand in the back office.
No one called the front desk for a new coffee mug, more pillows, a wake up call, or bitching about kids running around above their heads.
A peaceful night in an almost full hotel didn't ever happen. It made me sense something was going to happen and it would be bad, you know, the freaking calm before the storm or some cliche shit like that.
Chewing on my nails I I bounced my knee to keep myself awake. Five hours left so I head to the small pantry to make a pot of coffee. I need the caffeine to stay awake and a smoke. Everything legal I'm addicted too. It's my own personal sick joke. I don't care. I suppose that's the problem with me. I just don't care about anything except keeping everyone out.
Grabbing a cup of the thick coffee I dump two vanilla creamers into it and head outside the double doors. Unlocking them I pull out a smoke and light it with a Swan Hotel match. Mmm, the smell of sulfur makes me think of fall. It's so soon.
I ache to breathe some kind of breathe that will keep me alive more than the zombie state I sail through life in.
I don't know how to crack the carcass that surrounds my skin.
The wind ruffles my long hair and I want to chop it all off. I want a pixie cut like Alice. I want to die it blond like Rosalie's or maybe black just for the hell of it. Black hair against my pale skin and dead brown eyes... I guess I would look on the outside how I feel on the inside.
I want to rip the pages out of my journal that I drunkenly spewed. I want to burn it with my cigarette but how dramatic can I be in one night? Apparently very.
I crouch down against the wall and rest my head against the bricks. They are still warm from the sun beating on them all day even though the wind is chilly. All I hear is my raspy breaths and the buzzing of the parking lots florescent lights. They are like alien lightening bugs, massive and zinging like beating wings.
The wind blows even harder and one of the lights makes a loud popping and wheezing sound. Great, Jacob will have to replace that light tomorrow. It's the one closest to the front door. I need that light to see what kind of car pulls up under the awning on the TV in the back room. Fuck.
I hate being in the dark when it comes to who is entering the motel but then again, it is two am.
And of course, just like the calm before the storm cliche bullshit a car pulls into the parking lot. It's probably a drunk Mike hoping that his dick will get wet tonight.
Standing my hip pops and I drop my coffee from the sudden noise. Jittery, weird, I'm not a jumpy person.
I leave the styrofoam cup on the ground with the spilled carmel colored liquid. I'll get it later. I know I'll be coming back outside for another smoke since I'm being gypped on this one. Packs are five dollars and eighty five freaking cents. This better be someone checking in.
Dropping the smoke in the pillar ashtray with little pebbles to stuff out the embers I head to the front desk.
It better not be Mike. I don't have the energy to tell him no for the thousandth time already this summer. Maybe it's just a guest that's already checked in. Like a child I cross my fingers for the best.
A/N: Thanks for reading. PLEASE comment? You make my day, even if you hate it ;)