“All I can say is this hotel will drop a star for lack of train access.”
“Dear, you knew that when you booked these rooms. I think the staff had been exceptionally polite and had a marvelous selection of fruits.”
“Fruits schmoots, they didn’t have fresh figs.”
“You never eat them at home, even when they’re in season. Have you seen my sunglasses?”
Vera turned at the knock on the door nearest the elevator. “Dani, can’t you get the door? That must be the van driver; be sure to tell him he’s late.”
Dani drifted in the opposite direction as if sleep walking.
“Oblivious, I don’t know what I’m going to do with that girl.” Vera slapped the door panel and frowned at the man who should have been the driver. “Yes?”
“Good afternoon madam.” He took one step sideways to reveal a furry white seal sprinkled with gray flecks that had the most adorably large and liquid eyes. “This beast is disturbing the other guests.”
“Beast indeed; she’s worth more than you.” She smiled in the tightly pursed way she used for menials. She called out. “MARcel! Come here at once!”
Marcel appeared in his socks and crouched at the seal. “Tiene agua fría, mi Corazón?” He stood and dragged the confused seal into the room by its scruff.
Vera followed Marcel and shut the door on the rude man with no other comment. “Where is the blasted driver!”
“Dear, have you accounted for the time difference? We are an hour later in this zone. That antique analog watch doesn’t keep up with zone changes.”
“Of course we are.” She touched her elegant 110 year old timepiece, making a mental note to drop it in the trash. “Those are not your sunglasses; they’re too big for you.” She fled to the bar, mortified for not remembering the time difference. “Bloody Mary.” The bar found her preferred tumbler-sized glass, dispensed the juice, the booze and two ice cubes. “I need more ice!”
“We apologize madam. More ice will be available in approximately nine minutes.”
She did not wish to be seen in an angry state, so she headed directly to the nearest bathroom. She heard what sounded like conversation, and the door was open.
There Dani and Marcel knelt side by side, the carefully cultivated white rose and the brown dirt. Aghast, she stammered, “D-Dani, I forbade you to be alone with the help.” When her daughter huffed from the room, Vera looked back to the Jacuzzi containing a seal and mountains of bobbing ice. “Marcel, you used all of the ice for that animal! I needed ice and you gave it all to that creature!” She put her knuckles on her hips. “You look at me like that again and I’ll replace you in a heartbeat!”
“Lo siento, Dama.” What heart? He returned his attention to poor Blanca. How did they end up here? Both bought, both longing for affection, both dying for a long gone home far away.