Of course he had a gun. Cath admonished herself. It was the US - they carried guns here. It felt freaky to her to see them being carried and no one being bothered. She was a city girl, at home if she saw a gun it meant big trouble.
The shuttle stopped and she managed to scramble aboard, her hand luggage backpack slipping off one shoulder, the freebie mystery toiletries still in her other hand. She felt a mess and sunk into the first empty seat - not daring to look at the other passengers.
The hotel was a forty-five minute drive down the interstate. Cath stared out the window amazed at the size of the trucks lumbering past. Their wheels almost level with her window. A corvette cut through the trucks and it looked tiny. At home they stood out on the road - a big car. Here they appeared the same size as other traffic. She began to wonder if she had shrunk on the trip over. Maybe this was how small children feel all the time.
As the shuttle pulled in under the hotel veranda, Cath relaxed at the thought of a hot shower and lying flat on a bed. She handed her booking sheet over at reception, almost too tired to explain.
"I'm sorry your room won't be ready until this afternoon." the receptionist smiled.
Cath's shoulders sagged. "No. I booked for last night so this wouldn't happen, it must be ready."
The receptionist went back to her computer.
"Look I've flown a long way. I need a shower and my room!"
The receptionist didn't look up, hitting keys and clicking her pen.
"You have a cute accent." the receptionist smiled again.
Cath smiled, despite her building frustration. No one had ever said that before. She spotted a plate of chocolate biscuits on the desk, with a complementary note beside them. She suddenly realised how hungry she was. She took one, the chocolate melting on her tongue, the sweetness kicking her brain into action.
The receptionist looked at her confused.
"Cookies." A man in a suit appeared from behind the wall behind the receptionist. He smiled at Cath. "What is the trouble?"
She re-explained her urgent need for a room and suddenly she had a key in her hand. She stepped away from the desk, taking another biscuit - cookie she corrected herself as she went. Then she stopped. Where were the lifts?
The manager caught her eye and pointed in the direction of the lifts. There they were right in front of her. It was time her overworked brain had a rest. She knew she didn't have much time and needed to get hold of her contact.
Paper clips and string
5 hours ago