Michael made it to The Central with about thirty minutes to spare, but he needed every last minute of it to make sure the room was ready.
The concierge, Reggie, smiled when he saw Michael walk through the lobby doors. “Michael! How are you doing, my friend?” His brilliantly white teeth stood out in stark contrast to Reggie’s dark skin. He was a first generation immigrant to the states and there was only a hint of an accent in his speech.
“I’m good, Reggie, but it looks like it is going to be a busy weekend,” Michael said. “Please tell me the room is ready.”
“The maid is finishing up now and I took the liberty of sending up a couple of your favorite gift baskets.”
“Good man! What would I ever do without you?”
“Sleep alone.” Reggie said with a straight face.
Michael looked at him for a second before they both erupted in laughter. Reggie had just started working at The Central when Michael had first rented a sweet. Over the years they had become good friends and as their fortunes improved they helped each other more.
“Do you have a maid working tonight?” Michael asked.
“A couple actually,” Reggie said. “Do you need an interuption?”
“No way. Tonight I need to keep the interruptions to a minimum. I’ve only got a little time for this one and I plan on making the most of it.” Michael pulled a slip of paper from his pocket and handed it to his friend. “In fact, if you can have someone rustle up the items on this list and bring it up when my guest leaves, I would really appreciate that.”
Reggie scanned through the list, cocked an eyebrow and looked back at Michael. “Planning on staying a while?”
“Just through Sunday morning. I have to go out of town on Monday and I need some stuff for the trip.” Michael looked at his watch and the front doors. “I’d rather pay to have someone else do the shopping so that I don’t have to do it all on Sunday.”
“Gotcha. Anything else?”
“Yeah,” Michael said, “tell the maid you send up later that if she can get the smell of sex out of the room in thirty minutes there will be a big tip in it for her.”
“You’ve got it.” Reggie laughed and slapped Michael on the shoulder. “Good luck my friend.”
“Thanks, Reggie.” Michael shook the concierge’s hand and headed over to the bar. He still had fifteen minutes and a stiff drink would hit the spot.
Michael took a seat near the bar’s entrance and waited for the waitress to bring him his usual. He watched the hotel guests stream in and out of the lobby. Friday night’s were busy and that night was no exception. He had spent many nights at The Central and thought of it as a second home.
The gentle brush of hair across the back of his neck was the only warning he received that his drink had arrived. “Hello, Sally.”
“Hey there, baby,” Sally whispered in his ear. “I’ve been missing you.”
“Sorry, Sally, but I’ve been busy.” Michael took his eyes from the lobby long enough to appreciate Sally’s long legs as she walked around the table to stand in front of him.
“Too busy for me?” She bent over more than necessary as she set down his drink. Her breasts were small, but perky and she knew how to use them to her advantage. She was barely old enough to work in the bar and had lied on her application in order to start before then.
“I’ve got a new job at work and the first project has been a killer.” Sally stepped closer and Michael ran his hand down her stockings leg. “This is the first chance I’ve had to get away and I am heading out of town on Monday.”
“So do you want to have some fun tonight?” Sally and Michael used each other for sex and companionship, but neither of them expected anything more.
“I already have plans I’m afraid.” She knew who he was and what he was like, so he did not fear any jealousy.
“Do you think I could join you?”
“Not tonight. I don’t know the first one well enough and the second is a complete unknown.” It wasn’t exactly a lie, but he didn’t need her knowing that he had become the plaything of his HR director.
“Well if you change your mind, just give me a call.” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek before leaving. Michael turned to watch Sally leave and when he turned back Diane was standing before him.
She sat down across the table from Michael. “So who was that? And don’t even say, ‘the waitress,’ because she is obviously more than that.” Diane laid her purse on the table and waited for Michael’s response.
“She is a friend,” he said. “This place is my home away from home. I’ve known her since her dad was the head chef here.” It wasn’t the whole truth, but it wasn’t a lie.
“I see.” Diane picked up his glass and took a drink. She coughed and sputtered as the bourbon hit her throat. “God, how can you drink that stuff?”
“You get used to it after a while.” He took the glass and drained its contents. He looked at het and smiled. “You look beautiful.”
Diane smiled and blushed. “Thank you.” She reached across the table and put her hand on his. “Let’s go upstairs.”