Cath raced for the wardrobe. "Please let there be a bathrobe in here!" There was and she pulled it on, doing up the tie as securely as she could. The alarm was still blaring and she walked out of the room trying to look calm. Everyone else was dressed. Was she the only one who had already gone to bed?
She climbed down the fire escape stairs with the other guests, glad this hadn't been a work trip with colleagues. She caught the flash of red lights as she stepped outside. The firemen had arrived. Was there a real fire? She looked up at the hotel and saw silhouettes of guests against their cream curtains, still in their rooms looking down. Despite her attire, she was glad she was outside. The fireman looked ungainly and out of place striding through the hotel foyer. Cath overheard another guest mentioning smoke near the elevator. Maybe it was a real fire. She watched the sliding doors of the foyer open and close for the fireman. They seemed to be coming and going but not doing much putting out of fire.
Then they came out, got back in their truck, waved and drove away. Cath shuffled back inside with all the others, still not knowing exactly what had happened. She turned down the corridor to go back up the stairs as everyone else waited for the lifts. Maybe she would find out at breakfast what had happened.
The next morning at breakfast, Cath asked the girl filling her coffee if she knew what had happened. She shrugged she didn't know anything. She had been working at another hotel. She did a night shift and then came on here in the morning, while her Mum took her little boy to school. No wonder she looked tired, Cath felt bad that the girl was pouring her the cup of coffee, she probably needed one more. Why was the world always a paradox? - the people who most deserved a holiday serving those that always had holidays.
Cath sipped her coffee slowly so the girl wouldn't have to come and refill it. This morning she had to face the manager who had left the message on her phone.
Her meeting with the manager didn't start well."No. You can not do that."
"But the other manager said I could." She tried to sound brash and confident.
"He didn't have the authority. It is a guest relationship management oversight issue and that is my area." Brad looked away as if the matter was closed.
"I have already advertised this spot for meeting." Cath said, trying to maintain his attention.
"I'm sorry, that is not my concern. You can not use the hotel foyer, it is company policy. It is about the comfort of the other guests." Brad picked up the phone.
It appeared the meeting was over. Cath stared at his name tag, trying to think of a reason he should give in to her.
"Have you ever heard of Jacob Macy?" She handed over the business card. It was looking a bit worn and tatty now.
Brad flicked his eyes over it. "No. I'm sorry it is company policy there is nothing I can do."
Cath stood up, taking the business card back. What would she do now?
The magic of the countdown
20 hours ago