If you haven’t read previous chapters, I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!
Trouble at the Hilton
I pull up into the Hilton parking lot. I watch as Fedora pulls in next to me. A lot of talcum powder blew off Tee and I as we rode the Harley, but I could still see traces of it on my clothing.
Billy, Angela, and Fedora step out of the SUV and surround me. Time to figure out the next steps.
“Angela, you come with me to my room. I don’t want you on your own till we figure things out.” I tell her as I see she looks a bit pale still.
“What’s next, Dee?” Billy asks with his usual bright smile.
“Don’t you have to work, Billy?” I ask him as I take in his eyes glimmering with excitement.
“Nope. Lucky you! Today is my day off.” Billy gives me his trademark wink. Fedora is silent as he stands watching me. Time for me to up the game I think.
“Billy, you go with Fedora to his room. Give Angela and me about an hour to clean up and order breakfast. I think she could do with some food in her. Then come to my room and we’ll figure out what to do next. We need to work fast, as I don’t know if those goons will manage to get out of the hole faster than I want them to.”
Fedora frowns. I knew he wouldn’t want Billy to tag along. He’s useful and as long as I curb his enthusiasm, he does what I ask of him without arguing, unlike Fedora.
“I’ll have to go up a different way, Dee. The dragon is on duty this morning. We employees are not supposed to fraternize with the guests, even off the clock, but I’ll be there.” Billy assures me.
“Do we need him, Dee?” Fedora asks as we watch Billy give a quick wave and disappear behind the back of the hotel.
“He knows the town and the people. Yeah, we need him.” I start to walk to the entrance of the hotel with Angela. Fedora follows behind.
Angela is too quiet. I’m worried about her. She looks too pale and her eyes are tinged with fatigue. She hasn’t said more than a dozen words since we rescued her.
We walk through the front doors of the Hilton and Mr. Haughty is in his usual place behind the front counter. That must be Billy’s dragon. Fits.
He watches us come in with a frown. “Miss Watson! May I have a quick word with you, please?”
The three of us change direction and walk to where Mr. Haughty is waiting. He looks us up and down and has a look on his face as if we smell. Well, maybe we do, a bit. Goon busting is hard work.
I smile my best smile and wait for him to speak.
“How long will you be staying with us, Miss Watson?” He asks with that same look on his face. I see by the discrete name tag on his jacket that he is actually Mr. Ellsworth and not Mr. Haughty.
“I don’t know for sure. Is there a problem?” I ask politely.
“I’m just wondering if you might be more comfortable in a different hotel, Miss Watson. Say the Ashville Motel, maybe?”
I remember seeing that particular motel as I was entering Ashville, a seedy looking flop house. Probably full of bed bugs and hookers. I let my smile slip away. After all I have been through the last forty-eight hours or so, I am not happy with Mr. Ellsworth-Haughty’s attitude.
Before I can open my mouth to let Mr. Haughty have my temper full blast, Fedora steps around me.
“Hello, Mr. Ellsworth is it?”
“Yes. You are with Ms. Watson are you not?” Mr. Ellsworth does not look impressed. I keep my mouth shut. I’m curious what Fedora will do.
Fedora hands Mr. Haughty his business card. Do all rich people carry those things? I have business cards too but keep forgetting to carry any with me. Mr. Ellsworth barely glances at the card.
“Is there some reason why you think Ms. Watson wouldn’t enjoy staying at your fine hotel?” Fedora asks in a friendly tone.
“Well, for one thing I’m sure a private investigator can hardly afford it,” he sneers. I’m surprised he knows what I do for a living. Mr. Haughty notices my look.
“Yes, I know what you do Ms. Watson. I Googled you.” He looks quite proud of the fact.
“Well, since you are so up to date on the latest internet techniques, why don’t you Google me also.” Fedora looks down his nose at Mr. Haughty. I know that look well, as he gave it to me when we first met. I watch Mr. Haughty to see how he takes it.
“Go on Ellsworth, we’ll wait.” Fedora says in an ice-cold tone.
Mr. Haughty hesitates then does a few things on his computer under the desk. I can actually see his face pale as he reads what I am sure is a nice biography of Fedora and his rich family.
“I’m sorry Mr. Williams. Please accept my deepest apologies for any errors I might have made.” Mr. Haughty seems to have lost a lot of his attitude in seconds. “You have to understand my position, sir when I see Ms. Watson come into our respectable hotel two days in a row looking, well looking as she does. You have to understand how I could come to the conclusions I did, sir.”
I almost laugh at his kiss ass attitude. I don’t like Mr. Haughty, but can’t say I blame him for thinking I belong in a hooker hotel. I haven’t been my usual self lately.
“Maybe this will teach you not to judge people so quickly Ellsworth. Ms. Watson is a special friend of mine. You’ll treat her with the respect that she deserves.” Fedora tells that man in a quiet controlled voice. I suddenly realize this is a different side to Fedora than I usually see. The true rich business man that makes hard decisions that affect thousands of people a day. Maybe I need to give him the benefit of the doubt more often.
Fedora turns away from Ellsworth and looks at me and smiles. Then he winks. I turn and guide Angela, who has been too quiet through all this, to the bank of elevators. We enter the empty one and I push the button to the fourth floor.
Fedora looks over Angela’s head at me and says, “How did I do Watson? What an ass that Ellsworth fellow is!”
As the elevator opens we step out into the hallway. “You thought almost the same things about me when you first met me, Fedora. So what does that make you then?” I smile sweetly at him as I unlock my door.
He laughs as he walks to his door and unlocks it. “Makes me an ass too, but a rich one!”
I usher Angela into my room and close the door. The man makes me laugh when he isn’t making me angry. I shake my head and turn to say something to Angela just in time to watch her eyes roll to the back of her head as she slowly crumples to the deeply carpeted floor.
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