ch 7 pg 43-46

THE Islander was a small inn compared to the mega hotels in Waikiki. What made us unique was that we were a full service hotel. I believed that people payed for service. As a guest, all you had to do was ask, and it was done. Tipping was not allowed.
If you've ever been on a cruise or stayed at a four star hotel, you know what I'm talking about. Our slogan was to give the guest more than they expected. In the Islander, there was no want.
Once we flew a messenger over to Maui to acquire a certain type of ice cream that was not available on Oahu. He was back in time for dessert.
My managers were all hand picked, they were the best in their positions. In the four years or so since I had been here, the hotel had finally seen a profit.
Personalized serviced was what I preached. If people wanted to come back to the same hotel, then we were doing our jobs. We offered all the same things the big hotels did, just on a personalized basis. Not a day went by when I didn't see a guest I knew by name. What I was trying to build was a family. I hoped I was succeeding.
That's what I called work.
I got out of the elevator and checked with Mark to see if I had any messages. He smiled at me and shook his head.
"Is our guest up yet?" I asked.
"She's been busy."
Again he hit me with the smile.
I opened up my door and was hit with the smell of cooking food. I was already hungry.
Samantha was sitting on my couch in a strapless dress that stopped above her knees. It looked like it was made out of cotton, but it hugged her body like shrink wrap. She smiled and crossed her legs as I passed her on my way to the kitchen.
I pretended I didn't notice although for second I forgot about the rumble in my stomach.
"What have you been up to?" I asked her.
"I though you might be ready for dinner," she said. "Your kitchen is well equipped so I thought I'd whip something up."
Mary from customer service was in the kitchen. She saw me, wiped her hands on her apron and headed for the table. I looked at her and then at Samantha. Mary gave me a weak smile and made a beeline for the door.
"What inspired you cook dinner?" I asked her. No one had cooked for me in ages. I was flattered.
"I cooked for Daddy all the time," Samantha said as she walked into my seldom used kitchen. "I just wanted you to come back to a home cooked meal."
I followed her and looked around. There were two pots simmering on the stove, their lids rattling with each exhale of steam. The door to the oven was partly open, like she was keeping something warm. The smells sent my stomach rumbling.
"What is it?" I asked, grabbing a beer from the fridge. I reached over to open the oven door but Samantha slammed it shut.
"It's a surprise."
"I love surprises," I said cheerfully. I hated surprises. I sipped my beer and sat down at the dining room table. The phone held my attention as I waited for it to ring.
"Here's your appetizer."
She brought out a plate of oysters on the half shell.
"I got these downstairs," she admitted. "But the rest of dinner I cooked myself."
I dug into the oysters and finished my beer.
"Let me get you another." She grabbed my empty bottle and went back in the kitchen.
I wasn't used to being served in my own home. Samantha seemed anxious to please me. She handed me another beer and took a seat next to me. In her hand was a glass of wine that she brought to her lips and sipped from. I couldn't help feel like I was on a date.
"You read all of those?" she asked, motioning to my bookshelf.
I took a sip of beer and smiled at her. "No, I just keep them there for good looks. If you open them, all the pages are blank." It made me uneasy to think that someone was getting a glimpse of my life. I had lived alone for so long.
She stared at me for a second before she realized I was kidding. Her face broke out in an embarrassed smile. "I've met anyone who reads so much. I used to read a lot."
"What made you stop?"
Samantha's forehead crinkled as she stopped to think. "I guess that I just don't have the time anymore."
"You have to make time."
She got up and walked over to the shelf. The only sound I heard was the swish of fabric as she made her way across the room. I followed her.
"In Cold Blood?"
"Capote. He also wrote Breakfast at Tiffanys."
"I remember the movie. Audrey Hepburn." Her slender hand moved across the shelf.
Samantha was naturally graceful. The way she held herself and the way she walked was enough to grab anyones attention. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her.
My spine tingled as she dragged a fingernail across the volumes on the shelf. It was like she was raking her nail across my back.
Samantha looked back at me. "I think I read Chandler in high school." She turned her back to me and continued to scan the volumes on the shelf. "Is that why you are the way you are?"
"What do you mean?"
"Hard boiled."
I blinked my eyes. I had been called a lot of things in my life before, but hard boiled was new to my ears.
"Like an egg?"
She turned and let her dark eyes bore into mine just long enough to tell me she was serious. The dress she wore made her look both seductive and dangerous at the same time.
People have called me cold and calculating. Those in the say I am too quick to trust, too quick to take one's word. The greatest compliment I ever received was when someone called me eccentric. I suppose it meant I was both.
Samantha went back to the books.
"You seem to have an affection for the thirties and forties."
I tried to explain. "I think I was born late. Life now is so planned, so thought out. During those days, men lived by instinct, that's how it was supposed to be."
I leaned against my sliding door and watched the rain cascade against the glass. "Relationships were based upon something. People waited for each other to find their fortunes. People had faith."
I sipped at me beer and looked out the window. I watched her in the reflection on the glass. "Either you loved someone or you didn't. You either found the one you were looking for or you didn't. I believe there's only so much to go around."
I was beginning to lecture. I didn't want to sound like my father.
Samantha smiled at me. I think she knew what I was talking about.
The phone rang.

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