The Sunset Inn was a modest looking hotel. It was a two story red brick building, with room access available only from the outside. Perfectly lined palm trees in identical size, decorated a cement walkway leading to the front door.
Kaycee stepped out from the backseat of the taxi and shut the door. She walked down the pleasant path, opened the front door and walked inside.
The lobby was rather plain. Tropical plants gave the atmosphere a heavy floral scent and took up room in every available corner. On the left was a single desk, a silver bell resting on top. On the right was a doorway leading into what appeared to be a restaurant. No one was behind the counter so she rang the bell and waited.
After what seemed like several minutes, a small elderly lady hobbled her way to the desk, using a cane for much needed support. She appeared to be in her seventies and looked as though every step she made was a struggle. She had gray hair thin enough to see her scalp shining through. Her skin was paper thin, nearly transparent and age spots took up sufficient amounts of space on her exposed flesh.
“I’m sorry,” Kaycee nearly cringed just looking at her and felt bad that she had disturbed the frail old lady “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Oh that’s nonsense child,” She waved her hand through the air as if she were swatting at a pesky fly. “I have been running this hotel for over forty years now. I may look worse for wear, but my mind is as sharp as fiddle, I can assure you. Now, what can I do for you?”
“I need a room.” Kaycee answered.
How many what? Kaycee wondered. Rooms?
“How many people?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just me, myself and I.” Kaycee laughed.
“And how many nights will you be joining us? Kaycee thought about for a moment unsure herself, but before she could answer, the lady continued, “Our special for this month is rent a room for six nights and the seventh one is on us. But you have to pay in full to take advantage of it dear.”
“That sounds perfect.” Suddenly realizing that she had no cash, she quickly added “you do take credit cards don’t you?”
“Of course we do dear. It’s no secret that I’m older than dinosaur bones, but I do keep up with the times dear!” She took the card from Kaycee and made the proper authorization. She handed the piece of plastic back to Kaycee, along with a key to room 27.”
“That’s on the second floor. The steps are on the side of the building. Your room is about halfway down.”
“Thank you,” Kaycee said and took the key. She turned to walk away and was immediately stopped by a speech.
“Now then, the rules are simple and any idiot can understand them. No loud parties and no wild sex orgies. I won’t tolerate the likes of these hoodlums coming here and raising ten shades of hell in my hotel. It’s a respectable business and Charles—that’s my husband, been married to that fool for sixty-years now, mind you—and we aim to keep it that way.”
“Yes ma’am.” Kaycee said.
“One more thing dear,”
God, will she ever stop?
“We do have a nice restaurant across the room. You can dine in or we do offer room service, for a price.”
Do you have a liquor store close by? As though she read her mind, the old lady said “we also have a fully stocked bar available.”
“Thank you.” Kaycee once again then turned to leave.
“Oh…and dear,” Kaycee suddenly had the vision of shoving a sock in her overworked mouth.
“Yes.” Kaycee answered.
“There’s a very handsome gentleman right next door to you. Pardon me for saying so, but, it looks as if you could use a man in your life dear.” Kaycee wanted to smack her, instead she turned and walked away, “Thank you,” she sardonically tossed over her shoulder.
Outside, Kaycee walked around the building and easily found the steps. Halfway to her room she passed an ice machine and two vending machines. One was filled with a variety of sodas, the other displaying several types of snacks; potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, and many kinds of candy bars. She put the key in the door and let herself in.
The room was as typical as any average hotel. It came equipped with two full-size beds, a dresser and desk; tightly secured to the wall. A television set was firmly attached to the desk. A large beach print hung on the wall above the dresser and a single light fixture was firmly attached to the each headboard. There was a coffee pot for one in the room along with a hair dryer and sample-size toiletries.
The effects of the valium were starting to wear off and she’d quickly decided on two more. After swallowing the tiny yellow pills, she decided on a hot shower and then, she promised her growling stomach, she would take full advantage of room service.
Nick Thomas was in the room next door. He had watched her from behind a self-made gap in the thick red curtains; a sinister grin covered his face as he watched her leave the taxi and enter the lobby. He watched her walk by his room. She was so close he thought he could hear her breathing on the other side of the brick wall.
How much luckier can I be? He silently cheered.
Things were going even better than he’d planned.
Although the effects of the vodka and valium were taking effect and blurring her vision, the hot shower was deeply penetrating. Her growling stomach once again reminded her she was hungry. Even though she had eaten lunch not quite three hours ago, the pills, once again were having a staggering effect on her eating habits.
After reading the menu, she finally settled on the house sirloin, a baked potato, and a small garden salad with Thousand Island dressing. From the bar she ordered three vodkas, straight up.
While waiting for her drinks and food, she grabbed the plastic bucket from the desk and left the room.
Nick Thomas was still at the curtains watching. When he saw her walk by he was deeply gratified. His heart began to accelerate in excitement. He grabbed his own ice bucket and followed.
“Sometimes you have to kick it.”
“Excuse me?” Kaycee impatiently turned around, and was absolutely stunned to be looking into the most provocative eyes she had ever seen. They were a dark shade of green and seemed to sparkle in the fading sun.
“Sometimes you have to give the machine a little kick to get her started.”
“Thank you.” she said. To her own astonishment, she found herself easily laughing, and took his advice. She kicked the side of the machine and immediately, it roared to life.
“Sounds like you have a personal relationship with the ice machine.”
“I guess you could say that.” He laughed.
“I’m Nick by the way, Nick Thomas.” She took his extended hand.
“Kaycee Beaumont.” She introduced.
He was impressively handsome. His head was clean shaven, and his cheek bones appeared to be chiseled to perfection. His entire body was rippled in muscle and he no doubt had a perfect six pack under his black tank top.
“Are you planning on staying here long?”
“I guess I’ll be here for as long as it takes me to buy a house.” God, she silently scolded herself. You’ve known this man for all of five seconds and you’re already talking about personal matters. Maybe the old lady was right. Maybe I do need a man.
Was it that obvious? She wondered.
She hadn’t been with anyone since Todd had died. She hadn’t had any desire to be. It was as if her libido had been killed right along with him. Then again she thought, locking her own self behind the private doors of Whispering Pines for three years didn’t exactly scream available. Nick seemed nice enough and she certainly couldn’t complain if she just so happened to be attached to him. Maybe the vodka was making her see him in a different light. Whatever the case may be, it had been a long time since she had felt that quiver of excitement in her own heart.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to get personal.”
“No, its okay,” she reassured him, “besides if I thought it was too personal I wouldn’t have answered.
Liar! If he’d asked you your bra size you would have answered him.
“It was nice meeting you Nick and as much as I’d like to stay and chat with you I have room service on the way so I really need to get back.”
“What a coincidence,” he said “I’m waiting on room service too. Maybe, if you’d like the company we can enjoy it together.”
“Yeah sure, that would be nice.”
God, where did that come from? She wondered. You don’t even know this man and you’re already inviting him to your room!”
“I’m in room 27.”
“I know.” He smiled.
It was as if a quick spark suddenly ignited in her and she found herself uneasy. How does he know what room I’m in?
Suddenly realizing his mistake and seeing the nervousness fill her eyes he immediately said, “I saw you going into your room this afternoon. I was looking out the window when I saw you walk by. Don’t worry,” he assured her “I’m not a raving lunatic on the loose, stalking you. I’m just someone who wants to share a dinner with a beautiful lady.” His smile nearly liquefied her insides.
“Am I that obvious?”
“You just seem a little nervous is all. I guess I can’t blame you. You never can be too careful these days.”
“I guess you’re right.” She said.
“So, I guess I’ll see you in a few minutes.” She accidently brushed against him when she walked by. The immediate contact sent her heart into another exciting tremor.
“It’s the valium. It’s definitely the valium.” She conveyed to herself when she walked back into her room.
After he was safely inside the confinement of his own room, Nick dropped to the bed and rested his head in his hands then let out a deep breath. Things were happening much quicker than he’d expected and he knew he couldn’t screw up. Not now. Not when everything was going so unbelievably good.
He picked up the telephone, dialed the number for room service and quickly ordered his dinner, advising them to deliver it to room 27.
He could clearly see that her eyes were a little glassy and assumed that she had either been drinking or under the influence of some sort of mind altering drug. Which he decided, is probably why she had accepted his invitation in the first place. Women were all the same. Get some alcohol into their bloodstream and they would soon be good and ready to spread their legs. He wouldn’t let it get that far. Not yet anyway. First he needed to plant himself deeply into her heart. This is exactly what he intended on doing and some more alcohol would no doubt help him succeed. Then she would open up to him and trust him completely. There would be no limits to their kinship and he would then go on to the next phase of his plan.
He only prayed that he himself didn’t get into deep with this one. It wouldn’t be hard. She was rather beautiful. Her face was exotic looking and unblemished, her lips full and pouty. And just by looking at her he knew he could be easily smitten.
He had to be very careful.
He quickly changed into a pair of Levi’s and white tank top, exposing his dark tan and newly enhanced biceps. He then slipped his bare feet into a pair of brown flip-flops and walked out the door, locking it behind him.