Chapter 6 of my book Last Sunrise Cosima and Jeffrey make a date. Let's Talk About It!
In this chapter the main characters start to get together. I'm trying to show the attraction between them. I thought I had some decent descriptions in this chapter, maybe too much description when it comes to the work stuff. My hope is that it makes it feel more real, but it may just be boring the reader, too. I guess it will depend on the reader and whether they like glimpses into other jobs.
I don't remember what chapter 7 the next chapter is about. I hope we move to another character. If not, I may have to switch some more chapters around.
Cosima tried focusing on her photography work but couldn’t stop thinking about her encounter with Jeffery Walker. Every now and then she thought of his smile and a warmth like hot cocoa spread throughout her limbs starting in her stomach. No longer editing, she sat in her black leather office chair staring at the computer screen picturing the rest of his face, his gray eyes digging deep into her. He’s way too young, probably just a teen, but secretly knew she didn’t care. Everyone would call her a cradle robber. What if he’s not of legal age? She laughed. He’s too mature to be that young. She hadn’t felt excited about anything in a long time.
Normally, she hated the Holiday Inn, but today she couldn’t wait for her next shift. Why wait? She could call his room. Was the number, 310, pretty sure it was 310. She stared at the bride waiting to be beautified on her monitor, tapping the plastic of the cordless phone in her hand with her fingernail. The bride’s skin could use softening and some blemishes removed; her blue eyes could use enhancement, but gray eyes stared back at her in her mind, friendly and warm. Focus, or she’d never get the editing done.
Was she crazy? She hardly talked to him. She didn’t know anything about him, except his name, Jeffery Walker. He could be a charming psycho killer. She leaned back in her computer chair and stretched her sore arms above her head. Nine o’clock, two hours and she hardly made a dent in the editing. Her mind returned to Jeffery over and over. He’s probably not really interested. She sighed. Men at the desk flirted with her all the time and the attention never meant anything. He’s probably like them, just not wrinkly. She took a deep breath. Plus, she had a kid. A guy his age wouldn’t want that kind of baggage.
The old lonely feeling seeped back in strangling her excitement. With all her brides, and working two jobs and a son, even if he was interested, she wouldn’t have time for him. Her life consisted of her son and her work. No room for dating, romance or love. She didn’t have time for her friends or family, how would she fit in a relationship. Her mom complained constantly that she never visited anymore. Her mind washed the image of Jeffery Walker away into a sea of responsibility and she sneered at the happy bride on her screen. Relationships never end happily ever after anyway.
A few days passed and Cosima lingered on her elbows at the front desk of the Holiday Inn, not a trace of Jeffrey in her mind. The idea of him easily squashed, just like a pesky bug. Over the weekend she designed two wedding albums, finished the editing process on the Halloween wedding, and met with a couple brides who needed to pick up their reprints and albums. Now, Tuesday rolled around and she found herself working at the Holiday Inn again; bored to death.
The hotel overflowed with guests and most of the banquet rooms were scheduled today, leaving her with no time to read or think about anything but work. Every few minutes someone walked up and asked where their meeting was located even though a huge sign in the lobby pointed them in the right direction. She didn’t mind being busy, business made time move faster. After a couple hours, most of the guests had checked out or were attending the meetings giving Cosima a few minutes to breath.
She hadn’t thought about Jeffery since the morning she edited the wedding. Was he still staying in the hotel? She clicked a few screens on the computer and brought up the in house guest screen. She typed in the room number, 310. The computer’s hourglass icon flipped and whirled over and over. For some reason the computers at work took forever. The screen finally brought up the name in the room, Jeffery Walker. Her body warmed as she read the name. He was still here.
He didn’t come to the front desk like he did the previous mornings. What was she thinking? She was thinking about calling his room. He obviously had more of a life than she did. Once again, she had turned something insignificant into something humongous. She picked up her book and read where she left off, not really absorbing the words.
A few minutes later, the phone’s shrill cry interrupted her. She sighed, and put the book down again. An in house call flashed on the console coming from room 310. Her heart pounded hard against her chest and her cheeks heated. It’s him. She picked up the phone and spoke trying to sound normal.
“Front Desk, this is Cosima, how can I help you?” Her boss walked by and took a close look at her face. It wasn’t the first time she’d turned red at work, and it wouldn’t be the last. He probably thought she was on a difficult call, someone upset about their early check in not being guaranteed, or their room not being tax exempt. She’d lived with the red face curse her whole life. The curse happened so often he didn’t pay much attention and continued rummaging around in the drawers searching for something. She turned away from her boss hoping he’d leave soon.
“Hi, Cosima, nice to see your back.” Jeffery said, his calm liquid voice relaxed her racing heart.
She smiled. He noticed her absence the last five days. That was promising.
“I was calling because my remote doesn’t seem to be working.” His voice flowed gently through the receiver like a stream in springtime. She forgot how smoothly it flowed. Her pulse skyrocketed. She took a deep breath to slow the pounding. How could she let herself get this bad? She had apparently built up a secret fantasy world around him.
“Oh, no problem it’s probably just the batteries, they run out all the time. I have some here at the front desk if you would like to come replace them.” She would get to see him again and have a second chance at being friendly. She sucked at being friendly.
“I’d love to, but I’m not really ready for public appearances, I just woke up. Would it be possible for someone to bring them to my room?”
“Sure, I’ll have someone bring them right now.” She would take the batteries herself. Normally, she wouldn’t. She’d call someone else to deliver them and stay at the desk, but Cosima burned to see him again. If someone questioned her absence she could always say no one else was available.
“Thanks.” He hung up the phone. Cosima laid the phone down and yanked the supply drawer open pushing random junk out of the way until she found a pack of double A batteries. Four of them wrapped in clear plastic lay buried under a pile of maintenance slips. She peered around for any managers before she started her way down the hall. Empty. She scrambled passed the restaurant and skipped up a ramp leading to the third floor rooms. The numbers flashed by as she speed walked, 302, 304, 306, 308, and then, 310. She stood in front of the door for a moment, afraid to knock. Her stomach turned and swirled. Her heart thudded. How ridiculous, like someone famous was in this room. One deep breath and Cosima raised her hand up to knock. She tapped the door and waited. Nothing stirred in the room. She knocked again, harder. This time, she could hear movement. Her heart fluttered as the door opened. She took a deep breath, stood straight and composed herself.
Jeffery leaned in the doorframe, shirtless. He was muscular but not the huge body builder type. His brown hair swam out from his head in every direction. Black jeans that fit him well covered his legs, and as she glanced down, too afraid to meet his intense gray eyes again, she noticed his feet were bare. They looked normal enough, no strange deformities or crooked toes. He smiled at her when she finally mustered up the courage to look up. His half naked body left her wordless. She stood staring for a moment, and then held out her hand.
“Here’s your batteries. I hope they work. If not, just call the desk and I can send maintenance to come look at the remote for you.” She tried to stay calm but shifted around like a giddy school girl. Her hand jumped in her mouth and she bit down on her nonexistent nails for security. Good thing her lines were well rehearsed from past guests or she’d been completely lost for words.
“Thanks, Cosima.” He always said her name when he spoke. Other guests didn’t do that. Was he saying her name to flatter her or was he trying to remember it? She stared for a moment, mesmerized by his gray eyes. They appeared healthier now, not as dark and tired as before. Should she ask him if he’d like to go out sometime? She could show him around, but she kept staring at him instead. She shifted and cleared her throat. The time of politeness had long passed.
“Well,” she shot out fumbling around with her empty hands. The one word blared out of her mouth much louder than expected. ”I better return to the desk before they notice I’m gone or the phone rings or… something.” She stumbled away backward with a little wave of her hand.
“Wait.” He stepped out into the hall closer to her. “I was wondering, if you have time, maybe we could hang out. Maybe you could show me what there is to do in Martinsburg?”
She laughed. Martinsburg was the pit of boredom. Of all the places she had lived, she hated this town the most. She would do anything to pack up and leave and move to some tropical island, but she couldn’t, her son’s family lived here and she couldn’t take him away from them. She was trapped.
“I’m afraid there’s not much to do in Martinsburg, but yeah, hanging out could be fun, as long as you don’t mind my son, Logan, tagging along.” She waited for the negative reaction. Nothing.
“Let’s meet at the mall then, say, six o’clock? We could meet in the food court.” He glided closer looking down at her. He stood a foot taller and the skin of his chest appeared smooth and clean. Heat radiated from him and the smell of the same musky-sweet cologne filled her lungs. She inhaled the scent and would have held it in her lungs all day if she could.
“Okay, I’ll be there,” she said reluctantly letting go of the prize in her lungs. The sound of the front desk phone crashed down the hall and Cosima let out the rest of her breath. ”I’ve got to go, on the clock and all.” She backed down the hall, still staring in Jeffery’s direction, and banged her back hard on something metal, the housekeeper’s cart. “Sorry!” she said to the housekeeper, picking up a few shampoos she knocked down and turned and raced down the hall. How could she be so clumsy? Jeffery’s chuckle followed her down the hall and then she heard his room door shut.
Did she imagine that whole scenario? The phone’s shrill ring screamed for the third or fourth time, she wasn’t sure. Her muffled foot falls sped up on the carpet until they clinked on the lobby’s marble floor. She grabbed up the phone only to hear a dial tone on the other end. Oh well, she didn’t want to talk to them anyway.
She sat down on the wooden stool and covered her face in her hands thinking of how ridiculous she must have looked standing in front of Jeffery, wordless, staring at his chest. Did she really make a date with him? The scene unfolded so fast it didn’t seem real. She flopped her hands down on the marble counter and contemplated calling him back with an excuse to get out of the date. No. The cowardly lion needed to braven up some time. She was going, even if it meant dying from a heart attack.