CALL IT LUCK OR DESTINY

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

A young girl who dreams big and tries her best to live her life no matter what

1

 

I’ve never imagined to live in one of the most crowded, biggest, messiest, most beautiful and brightest cities of the World: London.

 

01st of March 2021

I’m here in the lounge of my boyfriend’s house in the midst of an epidemic which left all the people of this planet at home for almost 1 year. My name is Angelica and I’m 22 years old and I feel lucky to have a family that loves me and a boyfriend who loves me endlessly. Both my family and my boyfriend helped me to be positive in this dramatic time but I would like to talk about it later.

I’m here more to talk about how my life changed since I moved from Italy 3 years and 1 month ago and started a career as Front of House receptionist to progress as Assistant Night Manager and as Shift Leader in London. My friends and my cousins are still asking me today how did I do? Did I have any help to find a job? Why did I do it? Am I happy?

It all began on the 23rd of January 2018 I was in the car with my dad waiting for my brother to finish his English Lessons at Oxford school. I was in the driver’s side as I have recently got my driving license and suddenly my phone started to ring. I look at it and I see an English number. “Mmm very strange!” I exclaimed to myself and I wondered was it a fake number but after two seconds when I look at my dad I realized that it could be one of the jobs which I applied for, as the last two months I was sending my CV all around the world because in Italy I wasn’t having any luck.

 

I remember two months ago when I started this new job in “Carpisa” shop. It was the opening of the shop so the first two weeks were focusing on preparing the inside and the stock for the shop. I’m not going to lie but those two weeks were intense and every day I was going home exhausted, I knew it was not my future but I gave it a go. I had two weeks of hard work but I also had lots of fun with my team and when the opening day arrived, I did my best at selling bags to customers as my team and I never received training. In the end it didn’t work out and I got fired. I still remember the Manager saying to me: “Angelica, you’re really young and you have a life in front of you. You will see, you will have more opportunities. I’m sorry but I think this job is not for you”.

After the shop I started to go around Venice leaving my CV hotel by hotel and when it was time for the interview the only reply I was receiving was: “ You are too young, if you would like I can give you an internship which you will receive €400,00 monthly because you don’t have any experience”. I was going home very disappointed as I didn’t know how to have a career in Italy as every reply were: “You don’t have a lot of experiences” or “You are not great for the job”.

I was unhappy with myself because it was the second job that I have tried and I didn’t succeed. My dad was pushing me too much on finding another job and he was not happy with me at all. I have never asked him why.

So I decided to look for jobs outside of Italy because I wanted to discover the World, I wanted to live my life away from everyone and choose what I really want to do. I knew I would never have a future in Italy and I wasn’t happy here.

 

Going back to the call I mentioned earlier I answered at the phone and I heard an English man who introduced himself as the Front Office Manager and he called for one of the applications I made. It was a job as receptionist at the Hilton Cobham (I had some experience of being a receptionist in the past and I never thought it could be my future). The Manager started the conversation with some questions like why did I send the CV to them, what is my plan for the future and if I would be ready to leave Italy and have a new adventure in England and after those questions which I have replied in a way to convince him, he told me that I would receive a confirmation email with the interview date and time with the Deputy Manager of the hotel. The next morning as the Front Office Manager promised me, I received the email with the interview details and the week after I had the Skype interview with the Front Office Manager and the Deputy Manager who were very happy with my performance offering me the job and asked me if I could be in the hotel within 5 days. Super happy I told my parents about the interview and also that in 5 days I had to be in England. My parents instead of saying “I don’t think it could be a good idea”, they did the opposite helping me to prepare all my luggage for my departure.

I had to say goodbye to all my friends from scouts who I promised I would send them photos when I landed and I also had to say goodbye to my best friend Lola that we made ourselves a gift: the same bracelet to make our friendship more special. The last people I said goodbye were my mum who gave me a necklace which I still have it now and my 2 little brothers because the third one was coming with me to England along with my dad.

So, after 5 days my dream came true and I was on my way to England with my dad and my brother who helped me with my bags and other stuff. They also came to see that I was safe at that the hotel and to explore London.

When we landed, I remembered that to get to the Hotel my dad had to rent a car and guess what it was an English car and when he started to drive you guys don’t know how many laughs between my brother, my dad and me we had. It wasn’t easy at all, my dad always ended up hitting the pavement and thankfully there were no pedestrians because I think that my dad for the first time was ending up in prison for murder.

I arrived at Hilton Cobham and I got out from the car safe and sound from my dad’s driving and the first thing I did was take a photo and posted it on Instagram: “Safe from my crazy dad’s driving I arrived at the hotel to start my new experience” and Instagram from that day become my best friend where every day I was posting photos to show to my friends and my family how I was doing and how much fun I was having in England but also it helps me when I was felling alone or bored. I took the last bag and with my brother we entered the hotel and I walked over to the front desk where the Front Office Manager welcomed me giving me the key of one of the rooms to stay at the hotel until my room in the staff accommodation was ready for me to use it. Yes I stayed for one year and half in the staff accommodation of the hotel where I was sharing the room with another colleague. I really loved my room, everyone called it “The lighthouse” because in my room there was a huge window that leaned out the smoking area so I could see who was coming and who was leaving, who was smoking and who was chatting. All of us who lived in the staff accommodation were sharing the toilet and the canteen. Practically we were a family.

My dad and my brother were staying in a Premier Inn nearby while I was staying in my hotel, so the morning after we went to visit around town to see what there was. There wasn’t much just a long street with bars, a supermarket, two pubs, a bank and a few shops for clothes. After the long walk around Cobham we went to visit Henry’s Castle in Kingston. It was amazing and for the rest of the day I tried to spend more time with my brother and my dad as the day after they were leaving and I was starting my new life at Hilton Cobham.

The first two weeks were complicated, the English language was not so easy at all and I was so worried that at some point they could fire me. One evening I was doing my training on the computer and the Supervisor Mia came over to me and she started to speak:” Are you ok Angelica? Is there anything I can help with?” – “Hi Mia, I’m all good, just a lot of training you know!” I reply unconvinced to her. Mia sat down next to me and switched the computer on to write few things on the brief sheet: “Angelica you are not very convinced, it’s ok to be afraid and be confused. Is it your first time here in England?” – “Yes, it is my first time. I’m not afraid I’m more confused on what is going on, why do I need to do this training and I would like to be in the front more often.” Mia looked at me and answered me: “Angelica, just trust the Front Office Manager, he knows what he is doing and this is the time to know your own life and future. If you think this is not your future you can always go back to Italy and look for another job. I won’t recommend to do so because here I think you will have a lot of opportunities to learn about yourself and to put yourself in a lot of challenges, also with English languages. I would like to suggest to you to ask and learn at the same time. People here are friendly and helpful”.

I started to ask to everyone more things, read every day the emails I was receiving to understand what was happening during the day and yes, I was receiving emails from my colleagues who were telling me how to do things and they were correcting me when I was doing mistakes and with a note book I was noting everything. I kept going with my training the first 4 hours of my shift and the last 4 hours I helped my colleagues. I also continued my training in my free time sometimes if I was not going anywhere and most of the time I was hanging out with some of my colleagues to spend the afternoon together drinking in the pub.

The days went by and a lot of people were leaving from Hilton Cobham and new people were coming. After my manager and my Supervisor Mia were gone, we had a new receptionist who started with me and we had a “cover” manager, a woman from the Sales department who covered the role for 1 month until a new Manager arrived. During this month I got very close with the new receptionist Eva. She is from Portugal a really lovely and strong woman who does not show any feelings at all but somehow she could be open with me, probably because she trusted me. We became best friends and every time we had the opportunity to have time off at the same time, we were having fun doing girls’ stuff: going to the gym, spending time in the swimming pool and spa. The General Manager gave the employees the opportunity to use the facilities of the hotel when it wasn’t busy as there were still guests around.
I learned a lot from Eva how to work the right way which was work no too much and no too less, but I couldn’t help myself to care less. The “Cover” Manager was absolutely the same as Eva and I really liked them as they were the opposite of my character: strong, they had that “bitchy” attitude that sometimes you need at work to not be used or manipulated, care less, completing all job tasks and learning things fast. Two things I couldn’t do care less and learn fast. My problem is I cannot care less because I always put myself in other people’s shoes, I always try to make all the guests happy and I always go out my way and try to offer help even if it was not my duty. Regarding learning fast it does not matter to me because everyone has their own time to do things and learn.

After 1 month we almost had all our team completed: New Front Office Manager Peter, new Front Office Assistant Manager Grey and 3 new receptionists Sarrya, Kari and Mire included Eva and myself. It was missing only a Supervisor Mike who arrived later. During the evening shift there was a Guest Relations Manager/Duty Manager Daniel and in the evening the Night Manager Pablo, with the Night Assistant Manager Van and the two-night receptionists Katie and Gabbi.

 

 

Here’s where my adventure starts:

The first time I saw my name in Hilton web site, my first time I receive a congrats email from the General Manager and his PA to be nominated in the comments from one of the guests which said:

“It was our first time in this Hilton and we had an excellent service from the reception to the waitress. Above all Angelica the receptionist helped me a lot to make this stay special as it was my anniversary. A big thanks to her she is really an amazing person!”

 

When you are working in hospitality you have to mention your name to get recognitions from guests and when you receive a lot of them at the end of the month you can be rewarded with money or gifts from the General Manager. In my situation at the front desk for example you have to mentioned at least 3 times during the check in and 2 times when you are helping a guest. It’s not easy because sometimes there is shyness which blocks you to say your name quite often but I think with time you get used to it and it becomes normal to say your name to guests. At the end of the day, I was saying my name because I was always thinking that in the future other hotels could see my name in the platforms or online and consider me for a high position. Sometimes I was doing it because I liked to be recognized from my boss and receiving emails of “WELL DONE” and give an example to my team.

I was so happy because I started to make progress on my job and my manager was so proud of me because besides my name being on the Hilton web side, I was making targets and pushing the team to achieve the budget of enrolments. When my Supervisor Mia left, she gave me an important task: be the Champion of Enrollment so I was in charge to see if my team was achieving the targets at the end of the month how many guests were enrolled and also one of my important tasks was taking care of guests who were Hilton honors members and to do something new monthly for them for example give a complimentary drink upon arrival so we could have more scores. More scores mean more business!

We started to have a meeting once per month to see how we were doing as team and if we were achieving our targets. We had some crazy days like: last minute calls from the airport for a cancellation flight and we had to create new more rooms and waiting for the guests to arrive and check them in; a lot of complaints about the fans from the room not working and we were solving these problems by upgrading the guests room to a bigger room for free, change of the room or complimentary drink; one day we had a problem with the gas so no hot water for the whole hotel all week and I remember it as it happens today Mike, Daniel and I on the same shift and we were trying our best to keep guests in the hotel but more of them wanted to go to another hotel and for me it was a lost cause I could not do anything or think of anything else to keep the guests in our hotel.

Day by day I was getting better, learning a lot about the hotel in general, the Hilton values and about the system we were using. I was spending time not only in the receptionist but also in the reservations team and Restaurant/Bar when help was needed.

After two months of hard work, I finally had my holidays and I went back home to see my family who I missed a lot but a normal person when you go on holiday should relax, have fun and don’t think about your job. I didn’t because I had to prepare something for my team as I was the one doing the meeting when I was back from Italy. Things were not going very well as we were focusing too much on achieving our targets instead of our proper training as a receptionist role: receptionist is the face of the company, we should welcome the guests with a big smile, take care of them from the check in until the check-out time, take own responsibility if we make mistakes. I always said make mistakes but learn from them and don’t repeat them. If we do repeat them, it’s because we didn’t understand and we have to note it down so next time we do better. Anyways I went back home also because it was my brother’s birthday so I didn’t stay on my laptop 24 hours but I spent the rest of my time with my family. I really missed them a lot and I enjoyed every minute with them as I had to go back to England soon. My holidays were finished and my project for the meeting too so I was ready to go back to England and with tiers on my face I said goodbye to my family. When I reached England, my home, I was so impatient to do this meeting because I was very proud about my presentation that when I showed to my Front Office Manager, he was so impressed and surprised of my amazing work and he definitely let me do the presentation.

The day of the meeting was around the corner and I was so excited and flustered: if I don’t remember some English words? If I don’t make any sense with what I’m saying? And if my team don’t like it??? There were all horrible thoughts coming in my mind and with a shake of my head I cancelled all that negativity. I shouldn’t worry what others think about it because it’s my own project and if someone does not agree we can always discuss it together to find a solution. The day of the meeting arrived and I was so nervous. I was waiting for my team in one of the meeting rooms that we reserved. My Front Office Manager arrived and told me that in the meeting The General Manager was coming too, I looked at him more flustered and I just wanted to fade from the room. I mean she is the boss of the hotel, calm down Angelica you just need to speak in front of her like she is a guest.  After a few minutes all my team arrived and also my general manager who left us in the middle of my presentation due to a personal emergency. I started my presentation pointing out a few things like: how a receptionist should behave in front of a guest; which tasks we have to follow in each shift; how and which tasks we should classify as important, not important, urgent and not urgent and to do this I prepared 3 big billboards one for the morning shift, one for the evening shift and one for the night shift so we could understand how we could manage the tasks between shifts so no one was complaining anymore that the morning shift do less, evening and night shifts do more; I have introduced a new way to motivate my team to upsell more and get more guests to enroll so whoever does more upselling and enrollment within a month wins a bottle of prosecco, a dinner with someone at the restaurant or ticket to the cinema or more money in their pay slip. After the meeting everyone went back to work and my manager before he went back to work, he stopped me and proud of me said: “Angelica, great job! You did very well. I think we needed someone who could open our eyes to be better and do better”. I smile at him and I replied: “I just said what they should hear because lately I really don’t think some receptionists are doing their job or they’re not treating the customers as they should”.

The day after I was on the evening shift and I was working with only one receptionist Kari, who lately she changed her attitude and she started to be more inappropriate in some cases like: she started to have a horrible attitude with some guests, she was not welcoming anyone, she always had the pout every time a guest was trying to speak with her, she started to ask for the telephone numbers of some guests, going out with them or asking them to get her some coffee or boiled water from our bar… besides that I hoped that my meeting helped her to understand a little bit but when I was waiting for the Duty Manager and my Front Office Manager for the brief she arrived all messy, her hair was uncombed and it was all over her face, her uniform was all dirty and her piercing on the eyebrow it was on show. I couldn’t believe at what I was looking at. Do you know when you are emotionless and you can’t say a word? Perfect that was me but after one minute I said something: “Kari, did you see yourself in on the mirror before you came here? I mean you should go back to change because you cannot go outside like that.” In the meantime, my Front Office Manager and the Duty Manager arrived and they were incredulous of what they were seeing – “Kari go and change yourself or just go back home and not work today!” my manager said with a really serious face. She looked at him and replied: “Why should I do it? I don’t have anything else; the laundry didn’t arrive yesterday as it should of. I’m not going to change until somebody calls the laundry company and says something to them, this is the second time that they didn’t bring my uniform on time.” I was shocked from the answer and my manager had enough of it and he sent Kari home and after that he started to speak to me and the Duty Manager: “So, today was a really quiet morning. Angelica is it ok if you are going to work on your own with Daniel? There are just 60 arrivals and a day use.” – “Yes, of course. It’s nothing for me. We will do the best we can!” I replied to my Manager and look at Daniel praying that he won’t leave me alone during the shift. The evening went so quick that I didn’t even realize that I almost did all the check ins and all my tasks. Gabbi arrived and she waved at me and when she came over, she asked me about Kari and I told her that I worked alone that evening and she was not surprised. At 10:45PM Pablo and Katie arrived, I handover to them and after that I left to go to my room to chill. I reach the canteen to clock myself out and I heard some laughs from outside. I go outside and I see my favourite Greeks and I go to say hello to everyone hugging them and kissing them: “Hey guys! How has it been at the restaurant and bar today?” – “Ange I did something new today I made a new drink that the guest was so happy about. I think I should tell my Manager to change some drinks on the menu and add some new ones.” – Naty replied to me super happy and at the end she asked me how was my day, I replied puffing: “It was alright, I think you heard about Kari that she had to go back in her room as she didn’t want to listen to the Manager, so I ended up working alone with the Duty Manager but I didn’t have any complaints. For the first time I enjoyed my shift.” Nick replied: “Yes, we heard about it. I’m so sorry Angelica about it, you and your team need to be patient and you will see that things change.” After that I left them to go to my room and as I reach my bed my eyes started to close and I was already dreaming.

 

Things were changing as Nick told me but in a bad way. Kari was getting worse instead of getting better. Peter and Mike were asking to Eva, me and Mire to be more patient and to try be more friendly to her. I was trying but it was very difficult, every time I was helping her or I was covering her mistakes I was receiving a punch in the face. She was using my kindness and I was getting tired of it. I started to be different when she was around: if I was alone with her, I was taking over the shift and be like the “Supervisor” of the situation delegating the tasks between her and myself. I remember one evening the Duty Manager was so busy with meetings and he gave me the responsibility to speak with a few guests who complained that day and making sure that at the end of the shift I was finishing all the tasks with Kari. So, I started my shift asking Kari what she wanted to do and she replied that she could do everything and I disagreed as we have to work in a team so as always, I took the initiative and I divided the tasks between us. Three hours before the shift was ending the lobby was very quiet, no guests around. I was dealing with my 10th complaint and I turned to Kari asking if she did her tasks and she confirmed to me that she did. After I resolved the last complaint, I finish my last task from my “to do list” and I go and check if Kari did what I asked for. She didn’t do anything, I go over to her and I ask her: “Kari, I’m going to ask for the second time, did you finish your tasks?” She replied to me with her eyes at the computer: “Angelica, I told you I finished!” – “Ok then can I ask you to show me the reservations for tomorrow if they have all what they need in the system?” I replied to her and she replied to me again with her eyes to the computer: “Angelica, you are not my supervisor and I told you I did. Please go now!” The nerves started to grow and slowly reached up to my brain. I took a big breath and I replied: “Kari, I checked the tasks which you agreed and you didn’t do any of those. So now I would like to ask you if you can finish your work, please!” – “No!” She replied and I replied back: “Then can I ask you to come in the back office, please?” We go to the back office and I switched on one of the computers: “Kari, now you stay here in the back office and you do your work.” – “No, because you are not my supervisor!” – “I don’t care that I’m not your supervisor, there are no excuses you couldn’t do your job so stop acting like that and be useful for once. Thanks”, she is looking at me and she refused again. I called the Duty Manager and he arrived nervously at the back office with Mike who was wearing a gym suit, I look at him and I asked him why he called Mike and Mike cut me off: “What is going on? Why can Daniel and I hear you almost until the restaurant?” – I started to explain and Kari is denying everything and Mike replied: “I want you both at Front Desk while I’m going to change and I’m coming back to help you both”. I was so humiliated and I went back in the back office. At the end of my shift before I go away from the back-office Mike called me to speak with him: “Angelica I trust you about what you said before because the other day something similar happened to me but I have to ask you that next time you don’t lose your temper like today because it’s not professional and hopefully there weren’t guests outside to hear you both.” I replied to him: “Ok, Mike and thank you!”.

That night I couldn’t sleep, I tossed and turned in bed until I got up from my bed and I dressed in a suit, I go to my table to take my headphones and my jacket and I go out from my room. When I’m out of the building I start to play my favorite playlists which helps me to calm down. I walk, walk and walk until I reach the back of the hotel where there is a huge garden where I laid down on and started to watch the stars. This was my favorite place when I needed to think. Be in love with what you’re doing is not easy at all because you put yourself so much in with all your body and mind that you forget who you are. I call my parents almost every day, it’s the only way to remember who I am. After an hour and a half sitting down outside, I went back in my room to try to sleep again.

The next day Eva, Mire and I went for a drink and we spent all day laughing and speaking about our future. They were thinking to move to London or somewhere that wasn’t staff accommodation as it’s a nightmare because everyone knows about you and what you do, they want to know where you’re going or why you do stuff. Mire and Eva had a point no having any privacy but I know I was not still ready to leave Cobham.

Months passed and things with Kari were going worse and the Team was falling apart. Peter the Front Office Manager one month later had to leave for personal reasons and I was so sad about it because we had a great bond and he always gave me advice. After the news, Eva and Mire were leaving too. After they left the following two-night receptionists who left were Gabbi and Katie two months later. Pablo and the night assistant manager Van left 1 month after them.

October 2018 everything was a disaster: waiting for a new manager that didn’t arrive until December; the Assistant Manager Gery became our Manager temporarily; Mike became Assistant manager; I was still a receptionist but I was considered as a Supervisor as I was the only one who could be relied on. On the 2nd of February 2019 with the new manager, I started a program which helped me for the next level which was Supervisor but things in the hotel were more difficult as there was a refurbishment and people were leaving Hilton Cobham and I was asked by my boss if I could cover the position of Assistant Night Manager as the new Night manager saw something in myself.

 

Here’s where my second adventure starts 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

31st of January 20207:00AM

I’m very tired and I’m waiting patiently for my colleagues after a long night shift. The bell rung and I’m asking my receptionist Elodie to go to the Front Desk and assist the first guest of the day.

Its 7:05AM and while I’m still waiting for my colleagues of the morning shift, Elodie came back to me and asked me to help her to print an invoice for a guest. With a big sigh I get up from chair and approach the guest with a “MORNING” and a big smile on my face. While I’m printing the invoice, I ask the guest how the stay was. I always check up on my guests because it’s my job makes sure they don’t leave the hotel dissatisfied.

When the guest left, I can hear Anna from the back who was on the morning shift.

Anna is a 17-year-old girl who started with us a month ago and she is being followed by all of us, we all showed her how to do things and we suggested her to do 4 hours in the back to do the courses and 4 hours outside so she could help us with guests and some of the receptionist’s work. The first thing I noticed was her attitude which I had to speak with her about it as she isn’t respectful with us: the first thing she said to me when I was trying to help her was: “Who are you? I do what I want” When we spoke about it, she told me that she didn’t want to be a receptionist and when she did the interview it was promised that she could do everything from Restaurant to Sales department. I asked her if she received an email and she told me that she never received one and anyone call her back, so one day her parents dropped her off at the hotel and told her to tell the receptionist that she was the new receptionist. Part of this big mistake was from my manager as he never called her or telling her that we are understaff and at the moment she doesn’t have the opportunity to experience the other departments. I suggested to her that if she will do her job in a good way, one day I could give her the opportunity to go and work in the restaurant, but if her behavior won’t change and she doesn’t like to work in the hotel she can look for another job and quit as a receptionist.

As Anna arrived, I go to the back and I start to talk: “Good morning Anna, it’s 7:10AM and you’re late for the morning shift. Next time please come in at 6:50AM for the morning brief thank you”. Anna starts to open her mouth and I stop her immediately: “No excuses accepted; you have to come early so I can send Elodie home. Now listen to me and after you start your shift”. After the morning brief I send Elodie home and I’m going outside to the front desk waiting for my front office manager who starts his shift at 9:00AM. I always asked myself why did I choose this type of life and why did I say “YES” when they asked me to do 9hrs with 3 days off. Hopefully I’m leaving here soon and I will start my new adventure in London.

 

 

At 9:00AM the Deputy Manager comes inside the back office with 2 cups of coffee and with a big smile handing me one of the cups and I start to speak about what happened last night during my shift: “I have trained Elodie with checking people in, she is helping me a lot and she is learning very fast. I should give her a recognition at the end of this month. On the other hand, Anna today arrived late this morning. This is the third time now James I cannot keep going like this my night receptionist is complaining because the extras are not recognized on her pay slip.” James looks at me: “Instead of giving her a recognition card I can try to give her £50 more in her pay slip this month and it’s almost 10:00 Angelica please go home and rest”. I’m looking at James with a big smile and I’m turning around and James calls me: “Angelica thank you for today” and I leave.

I reach my cottage which is just 2 minutes away walking distance from the hotel and when I enter, I see my Night Manager Georgina sitting on the sofa watching TV. Since I am the Assistant night manager I moved from my accommodation to the cottage where managers should just be living but because there are not enough rooms at the staff accommodation Georgina and I are living with Gauri a daily receptionist and Esther the F&B Assistant who is in a program with Hilton to become a Manager one day.

I go to my room and leave my jacket on the bed and I go back to the kitchen and I start a conversation with Georgina about my shift. In the meantime, we hear something from the TV and some gunshots and we give a look at the headline of the news “CHINA IN CHAOS, NEW VIRUS ALERT”. I turn around and my face is like “WHAT???” I start to speak: “oh, it is the same virus that will disappear in few weeks” – and Georgina looks at me like “Angelica, what are you talking about”. Georgina starts to speak: “Angelica, this news is going on and on from December and no one is giving a crap about it. People are dying and if our Government does not start to close the borders now, we are all going down” Snorting incredulously I go to my room and I put my pajamas on and start to sleep as I have to be worried about another night shift by myself. The alarm rings and with great difficulty I open my eyes and watch the time: 7:00PM. I get up from my bed and with my dressing gown I go outside and I see Gauri the receptionist and Esther the F&B Assistant arguing about nothing as always – “Good evening girls, how are you doing? Thank you for waking me up, did you prepare some good food for me as well?” I say sarcastically smiling at them. Gauri with a smile looks at me and I read her lips saying “Thank you for saving me” while Esther taking over replies: “Angelica!!! Good evening and I’m so sorry for waking you up, Gauri and I were arguing about a stupid thing and not we didn’t prepare anything to eat I’m so sorry!” – “Hey Esther and Gauri come here” I start to hug them “Do not worry about me I was joking about the food you girls are my friends not my mum and I am a grown-up woman who can make own food, and also you girls didn’t wake me up my alarm went off and I woke up. Apart from that, how was work today girls?” Esther replies – “Angelica you are unique and always making jokes. However today work was quiet and smooth. Oh yeah just that new receptionist Anna, girls she is so annoying at times. I prefer when you or Gauri work because she can’t do anything but cause problems to the team”. Gauri nods “Yes, she is right. The other day I asked her to do half of the check list and at the end of the shift I discovered that she didn’t do anything about it, so I had to stay longer after my evening shift.” I look at them with no surprise and I say: “Today she arrived very late at work and I told to James what is going on and he will keep an eye on her, so girls do not worry! Also, I will leave soon so she is no longer my problem.” Esther and Gauri with a sad face come to me and give me a big hug and simultaneously say: “We will miss you girl!” – “I will miss you girls too!”.

When Gauri and Esther leave the kitchen, I start to prepare my pasta. While the pasta is boiling my phone rings, I look at it and my heart starts beating:

“Hey sexy, how are you today?”

Ok I did not expect his message and he knows I’m free tomorrow but I cannot always do what he wants. We had rules and he never respects them, why should I? I go ahead with my pasta and I do not reply to him. I take my plate full of pasta and I go to sit down on the sofa and start to watch my favorite series at the moment: “How to Get Away with Murder”.

9:30PM I start to get ready for work and I start work at 11:00PM but I’m the Assistant Night Manager and I have to give an example and of course go to work earlier as it’s giving me the advantage of knowing what happened in the hotel that day and what I will have to do during my shift.

I’m ready I take my jacket with my little bag and I put my keys inside and I take my phone. Oh shit!!! 3 calls and 10 messages, that man does not leave me alone. On my way out from the cottage I call Jason who of course does not reply to my call as always. I send him a message:

“Hey you, can you stop texting me please?”

J: “Finally but my hottest girl didn’t reply to my question, what are you doing tomorrow?”

Me: “First of all I ’m not your hottest girl and I told you to leave me alone. I have work to do tonight.”

J: “It’s 10:00PM and from the cottage to the hotel is just 2 minutes walking, why are you always going to work so early? You should stop to go so earlier they might take advantage from it. I know you have to work tonight but tomorrow you are off, so why don’t we both have fun tomorrow”

Me: “Jason, please leave me alone. I have to sleep tomorrow and I have somewhere to go tomorrow”

J: “Where do you need to go tomorrow? Do you know I have a car and I can give you a lift?”

Me: “Oh really? Finally, someone got his driving license and no I don’t need you to give me a lift as I have my own car, thanks. Now leave me alone as I have to start working!”

J: “Ok, 05:00PM I’ll pick you up at the same place, put on something sexy” and the message end with a devil face with a smile. I definitely ignore the message because I had enough of him and his games, I know I should have fun at my age but if I do, I will end up hurting myself.

10:30PM I’m outside of the canteen with all my colleagues from the restaurant and bar, they are the only reason that I’m still here working in this place. I give a big hug to Naty and Nicki – “Angelica you don’t know what happened today, crazy everywhere: ambulances; the fire alarm which didn’t stop all day and…” Nicki stopped talking because the usual Italian guy, Omar, took over her and with his Italian accent says– “…and all the complaints that I had to deal by myself. Hallelujah Angelica you are here” Omar gives me a big hug from despair, I reciprocate the hug and with an innocent smile I ask: “So who is the Duty Manager today that I have to put up with?” – Omar looks at me and laughing he replies: “Guess my sweetie” with a big sigh I look in his eyes and with a fake sad face: “It’s My Front Office Manager, isn’t it?”

All the employees dislike this manager simply because he doesn’t do his job properly as a manager you should: arrive on time for the shift; organize brief meetings with the other managers to know what is going on during the day; plan some strategies; resolve problems and improve them; take care of the team; organize every month one meeting with the team. When he is Duty Manager of the day, he should take care of the hotel; check during his shift what is going on in each department; as a manager he should take his own responsibility. He does the complete opposite as he just sits down all day on the chair, looks at his computer and having the rota open during his whole shift he replies to one or two emails. I would like to be honest, the first day he arrived I really liked him and after one month I started to work with him and I noticed things that I didn’t like: I received calls from guests complaining about him, I had to sort things out, speak to the team and be honest with them because there were too many mistakes and thankfully, I moved to the night shift as Assistant Night Manager because I couldn’t deal with it anymore and cover my team’s mistakes.

Nevertheless, I leave my friends and I sign in and start to walk to the reception. In the Front Desk there is a chaos; the receptionist Anna who is trying to explain something to a guest who is very angry at her and my Manager who isn’t next to her to help her. I walk quickly to enter and see if Raffaele, my Front Office manager is in the back office. No, he is not, there is a long queue outside. I put my bags on the chair and I walk to the Front Desk to help the situation – “Good evening everyone, who is next? How may I help you?” An old man approaches the desk and with a big smile greets me and I return the greeting recognizing him – “Mr Martin sorry for keeping you waiting and welcome back! It’s been really long time I haven’t see you in. How are you? Since I’m on night shifts now, it’s difficult for me to see my favorite guests again” – Mr Martin blushes and replies: “Yes, it’s a long time I haven’t see you in. You know, I’m always asking Deborah, the Guest Relations Manager, about you if you were still working here and here we are! Do not worry at all, I can see your colleague is trying her best. I have already done the Digital check-in so I’m not here for the key, I’m here to ask if it’s possible to have a coffee at 4:00AM with some fruits because I have a flight tomorrow at 6:30AM for America. Is this possible?” – “Of course, it is! I am in tonight with Elodie, the new night receptionist who has some experience in F&B and she can help me with the fruit and coffee. What type of coffee and fruit would you like?” – “Angelica I would like a black Americano with one banana, please!” Mr Martin replies with a really happy face and I look at him and after I have written down all of his requests I reply: “I will get that arranged for you! Thank you and have a lovely night, you know I’m here if you need anything else!” Mr Martin looks at me and taking his bag replies: “Angelica you are always the best! I’m leaving now because there are a lot of people!” and he goes. I look at the queue and I would like to explode right now, it’s only 10:45PM and I have so many check-ins. In the mean time I see Elodie in the crowd and I try to tell her to come and help Anna and me and with only a glance she understands. When she goes through the door, she reaches the third computer and starts to speak with the other guest. After I helped the fourth guest, Anna is still with the same guest and I go to help her. I listen to the guest and he is asking simply for his bill. I print it for him and when he leaves, I turn around to Ana and ask her to go in the back office and wait for me. I go towards Elodie – “Elodie thank you so much! I know that you shouldn’t start now, but thank you so much to help me out.” – “Angelica it’s my pleasure to help you out, never say thank you to me because I do these things for you!” Elodie’s reply moves me so much that my eyes start to shine. I try not to cry in front of her.

 

I leave Elodie at the front desk and I go in the back office and I go to speak to Anna: “Anna, what just happened? Where is Raffaele?” – “Angelica, Raffaele left earlier and I had to deal with a lot of complaints and I couldn’t finish anything from the check list. Can I ask you to do it for me?” Anna replies at me in a really confusing way and I cannot follow her because I just heard the last part, “Angelica can I ask you to do the check list for today?”. I look at her very confused but I am the manager and I need to put her in her place: “Anna I cannot do it, what did you do all day? Most of the check-in’s have arrived this evening as I can see from the system and you had time from 3:00PM. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know why Raffaele left this evening, but one thing Anna you have to learn is organization. You have to plan your 8 hours of work and leave on time. Now you have to stay a little bit longer to finish at least the Reservation Check and the CRM” – “No, I cannot. You have to let me leave because I’m 17 years old and by law you cannot keep me here until midnight” Anna replies with a devil face and I had to let her go home. Before she leaves, I stop her and tell her: “Listen, you are a baby of 17 years old who thinks you can do whatever you want because you are still living with your parents and you don’t know what sacrifices mean. So, if you don’t change your behavior now, I’m more than happy to speak again to our Deputy Manager and contact your parents. Anna, grow up.” And I let her goes away.

I go back to the chair where I put my bag and my jacket and fix them in a proper way. I reach my computer to start my shift and I see from the CCTV Elodie putting the bell on the Desk and reaches the back office and she starts to speak: “Angelica what did you say to Anna, she left crying?” Without feeling guilty I reply: “Elodie, she is just a baby and I had to tell her how things work here. If she wants to stay here, she needs to change her behavior…” I stop the conversation because I hear something and I look behind me and I see a light on from the reservation office and hear a male voice. I recognize the voice, it’s James. What is James still doing in the office from this morning at 9:00AM. I ask Elodie to give a look at the Front Desk while I go to see James. I knock on the door and I heard a deep and sexy male voice that invites me to enter. I open the door and the moment I lift the head my gaze falls on that part of the open white shirt where a bit of James’ fluff comes out and I start to feel the redness rising up until my brain. I start to picture James and myself on that desk starting to kiss frantically, but immediately I cancel that picture from my mind. Angelica he is your boss, what the hell are you thinking!?!? I clear my throat and obviously with red cheeks I start to speak – “Hi James, how are you? What are you doing here?” James was too focused on the computer that he didn’t even realize I entered and I have spoked to him. He turns to me and with a surprised face he detaches from the computer and in a nervous way he stands up from the chair apologizing and I saw some redness on his cheeks that makes me smile – “Angelica why are you smiling? And I’m sorry I was too focused on my work, as you know already your Front Office Manager had to leave work earlier for personal reasons and they called me in because they didn’t have any Duty Manager. I don’t have anything important to report to you, just a few complaints which I would like you to send the apology letters you prepared to those rooms that I wrote down in the DMLog. If you have any questions please come to see me as I have to finish few things or if I’m not here just text me, you have my number you know, you can always contact me” I look at him suspicious of the last sentence he said to me, but I ignore it and I continue the conversation: “Ok thank you and I mean it, thank you for today! Oh, another thing, I had to put Anna in her place as she didn’t do anything from her check list and she asked me to do it for her tonight. James I genuinely cannot deal with her anymore, she is not organized and I cannot do her work when I have the night receptionist who is new and I need to train her, plus I have to complete my check list of Night Manager.” James looks at me like he would like to do something for me but he cannot as he has his own problems to sort out. When I realize all this, I look at him and I apologize to him: “James, I’m so sorry. It’s just too much for me and I don’t have anyone to support me and I didn’t want to give you more problems.” – “Angelica don’t be stupid, I’m here for this as well. Every time you feel down please come to see me and we can always talk about it. Definitely I will talk to Anna and your Manager as he needs to do something about it, I have it here in my do list. I couldn’t speak to her today because she was alone and as you know; at the moment we don’t have a strong team in Front Desk and I’m trying my best to speak with HR to have more people and change some people.” James replies to me and in a very kind way he puts his hand on my shoulder and squeezes it gently making me feel protected and I can always rely on him.

I hear the bell and I leave the room quickly and I walk fast to the Front Desk to see what is going on. I just want to disappear from the Hotel right now, I run back to James and he is not there. I take my phone and I call him. “Come on James, pick it up. Come on James!” After three rings I hear James and I ask him to come back in the office immediately cause of an emergency. On the way back, James come to the Front Desk and he looks me in a scared and angry way: “Angelica who are those people outside in the Lobby, are we expecting a group this week?” I look at my emails and I cannot see any groups apart the one which needs to arrive at the end of this week “CHELSEA GROUP – 20 rooms” I cover my face with my hands and I stand up and go outside to speak with the organizer asking. “We are from Chelsea Group and we spoke with Emma to move our reservation two days before our previous arrival and she confirmed. Look this is the confirmation email.” I take the sheet that the organizer has in his hand and I go back in the back office to show to James – “Angelica call Emma immediately I don’t care if she is sleeping or she is off. If she is not answering call her Manager Rose. How can they fuck this up? I have never seen this horrible organization.” I take my phone and I start to dial Emma’s number on the hotel phone; when it starts to ring I put it on speaker waiting for Emma to reply. No answers. I call her again. Nothing. James takes his phone to try and find Rose’s number. The phone rings. After 4 rings a tired voice replies and without giving her a minute to ask who it is, James starts to speak: “Rose, it’s James I’m sorry for the time but we are having a really big problem at the Hotel. We have the Chelsea group here, now, in the lobby and we don’t have enough rooms for them. Could you confirm to me that we definitely told them to come tonight?” I look at James terrified and I signal him that I’m going to the Front Desk to calm the organizer down. While I’m giving bottles of water to the group, James calls me and I know already I have to speak to the guests and apologize. – “Angelica, I’m going to speak with the organizer and you can stay here and make the only rooms we have available and the rest let me handle it, please.” With surprise I reply: “Of course no worries, I’m going to create the reservations now.” I don’t ask for more because he needs to hurry with the guests.

I have only 10 rooms available and the hotel will be fully booked. I book in 10 rooms and after that I’m going to block in the system the remaining 10 rooms for the day after, so the group can spend their stay together again. I call Elodie and I ask her to prepare all the keys for the 10 rooms I have created and checked in. James comes back in the back office with a proud face and he says: “Angelica did you do what have I asked for? The organizer is happy with the plan I told him which is booking ten rooms in another Hilton hotel, so we can transfer the money which Emma has of the first night to the other Hilton and the only thing the hotel needs to pay for is the petrol for the way from this hotel to the other one.” – “James this is perfect, and I have blocked the other 10 rooms from tomorrow night.” I reply to him and he looks at me proud and replies: “Well done Angelica! We are a really good team, unfortunately you work nights I wish to work with you during the day as well!” I smile at him and I go to help Elodie.

The night starts to go smooth, after Elodie and I have given the keys to the group and James has sent the rest of the group to the other Hilton. 02:00AM I’m almost finishing the night audit when James comes all dressed up and with his bag on his shoulder thanks us and before he leaves he turns around and says: “By the way Angelica you look really sexy tonight, I forgot to tell you. Why are you dressed like that?” I blushed and I reply to him: “Oh I just dressed up like this because I’m the Assistant Night Manager, I have to look nice and professional. Thank you, anyways”, – James with a big smile leaves the Reception.

“Mhmhmh! Angelica!” Elodie clears her throat and she looks at me like I didn’t tell her something. “Yes, Elodie” I reply confused – “Angelica, it’s so obvious James is so into you and you don’t even notice it. How?” Elodie replies so nervous and so happy that for a second I believe what she is saying but my phone rings which brings me back to reality. I look at it and my heart start to beat very fast:

JASON: “Hey baby, I know you saw the last message. Just want to say goodnight and we will see each other tomorrow”.

The night passes very quickly and at 6:45AM I hear Deborah from the door saying with a loud voice: “Good morning women, how are you? Did you miss me this week?” I smile at her and with a hug I say: “Of course Deborah! We all missed you. How was Dubai?”. Deborah after the hug approaches the chair to hang up her bag and jacket and replies to me: “It was fantastic, I really loved Dubai. Anyways what did I miss here, any gossips or complaints. Do I need to kill anyone today?” Elodie and I start to laugh and I reply to her: “No Deborah everything is all right, just a group yesterday arrived and we didn’t know because Sales forgot to put it in the system so you might have 10 guys from Chelsea arriving this afternoon and they might ask you for the rooms which I have blocked in the system for them today so you don’t need to worry, you and Anna need to make keys for them.” I stop to speak and I’m looking at Elodie and I ask her to leave us for few minutes and when Elodie leaves the back office I start to speak: “Deborah I need your help with Anna, she will be a little bit sad today for the things I said to her last night. Just ask her for help like how to do things, if she does not remember just take a note and let me know so I know where I can help her.” Deborah looks at me worried: “Yes, of course Angelica. I will help you and help her too. She needs to understand we come here to work and not to play games.” I thank her and she starts her shift greeting all the guests that are passing the lobby at that moment. Anna arrives and with a really moody face approaches the back office where I’m sitting in front of the computer and finishing to send the last email and I hear a “Good morning” from Anna, I reply “Good morning Anna! Listen I would like to apologize about last night, I know I was really harsh on you but you need to understand that here you are not alone and there are other people. Like it or not you have to work with everyone, from the ones you dislike to those you like. At the moment we are not a full team and I’m really sorry for this but you have to try your best to do things because we are all in the same boat as we get busy, we help each other and we learn from each other. I would like you to understand this, that we are not at school and if you don’t like a subject you can postpone until the next time but here things need to be done at the same moment and if you don’t like the job you are more than welcome to quit and look for what you like.” Anna looked at me without words and she apologizes too: “Angelica I will try my best but I cannot promise anything. If I need help can I email you?” I look at her with a surprised face: “Yes of course Anna, you can email me whenever you want but of course I will need to reply when I’m on my shift. For example, these two days I cannot reply but I will definitely reply. If something is urgent you can speak to Deborah, Raffaele our Front Office Manager or James, Mike, Gauri who can help.” Anna looks at me and says “thank you” and goes to the Front Desk. I finish restarting the computer and I take my jacket and leave the hotel to go and have a long sleep as I’m off but a vibration in the left pocket of my jacket grabs my attention and I take it and see a notification: 1 WhatsApp message

T: “Good morning sunshine! How are you?”

When my eyes look at the name of the message, I show a spray of happiness Teo my old colleague and best friend wrote me from London. It’s a long time I don’t hear from her and I don’t blame her as when I started to do nights, I don’t write a lot as I feel everyday very tired and most of the time when I’m up after I sleep people are not free during the evening to give me attention. But as always, I try my best to keep my relationship up to date, like with my best friend Lola from Italy. However, I call her straight away and on the other side of the phone I hear a big happy “HELLO” from Teo: “Angelicaaaaa! How are you? Where have you been? I know you are on the night so I don’t blame you but you can always write me. Anyways how is everything going there at Hilton Cobham, you have to update me!” she says out of breath I can only imagine that at this time she is going to work and because its London its always better taking a tube, a bus or walking a lot due to a lot of traffic. I reply to her: “Hey Bellaaaa! I’m all good! Here you know how it’s going Hilton Cobham, what can I say. I’m enjoying the nights but at the same time I don’t as our “manager” Raffaele is not doing anything about the team and James is trying his best. He stayed until late to help me with a mistake that sales did...” she cuts me off when I say the name “James”, lately I’m speaking a lot about this James – “Yeah, yeah… Angelica can you not hear yourself when you speak about James? I mean we don’t speak for 3 weeks but my sister is telling me sometimes about your conversations with her and apparently you speak a lot about James. Ahahah! Anyway what happened with sales, did they forget to put something in the system”. She knows very well how things are going here in Hilton Cobham, it’s not even the fault of employees it’s just managers and the team are not organized – “Teo, you know mistakes exist we just need to learn from them and yes, they forgot to put a group in the system... but well, it is what it is. About James, I’m telling you and your sister there is nothing between us or me liking him because I don’t. Yes, he is a really nice man but I don’t know I don’t think he’s my type.” – Teo replies: “All women say that. There isn’t a type of men, I think you know when you are near to them if something moves into your stomach or some thoughts going through your mind.” Why is she always right? Yes, I had something going on in my mind last night, but I won’t tell her, I reply to her: “Speaking about men I might have a date with someone tonight, His name is Jason. Do you remember him?” There is a second of silence and after Teo replies: “Oh yeah, the rude guy from that pub when we went for my leaving party. What? Are you guys dating?” – “Yes, well it’s not dating but it’s like we are having fun and It's nothing serious as I don’t have time first of all for work secondly for… oh yeah for work!” I can hear Teo laugh and replies to me: “Angelica, you are only 22 and you have all the time of this world but try not to waste time with stupid guys who want only fun and don’t consider you as a wonderful woman with values. Listen it’s your life and you are allowed to have some fun but not too much as you can end up hurt. You know how much I care for you and I love you so please take these words as advice but not like I’m your mum telling you off.” I thank her and I have to let her go as I am too tired.

 

4am the phone rings like crazy and I take it and answer without seeing who is. A deep voice of a black man who I recognize straight away: “Good morning beautiful, how are you? Are you ready for our date?” Jason says before I open my mouth and tell him to piss off but his voice moves something inside me and I can fell I’m becoming all red: “Hi Jason, I’m all good. I don’t know if I want to come as I’m very tired.” I reply to him trying to feel confident – “Angelica, this is too bad because I’m right outside your door and you have to let me in before someone sees me. I’m ok just to hang out here and God knows what can happen…” – “Jasoooon! You better be a good guy today as I’m not in the mood!” I reply to Jason very angry. Jason replies: “So are you coming to open the door?” – “I don’t know, maybe!?” I reply to him sarcastically and his reply couldn’t be better than mine: “Naughty, naughty Angelica. Do you want to play now?” while he is giving me this stupid answer, I open the door and I laugh at him – “So what was it? Play a game?” I give him a big hug and I invite him inside of the house. At the end of the day, he has been the one helping me grow with my career, he has been like the big brother I never had and a good friend too. I go to the kitchen and I go to make myself a coffee: “Hey Jason, what would you like to drink? I have juice if you want.” Jason reaches me with his hands on my hip and with a fast movement I go away. As I said I’m not in the mood. I take the juice from the fridge and I fill up the glass then give it to him. I invite him in my room as we cannot be seen by my girls. When we entered my room, I grab my laptop and we start to select a movie from Netflix and at the end we choose to watch “Coming to America”. Jason lies down next to me and with his hand he starts to touch my leg and I let him do it for few minutes as I cannot resist from him touching me but when I realize what his goal is with my hand I grab his and I move it away. As I said before and I don’t like to repeat myself I’m not in the mood and he definitely doesn’t understand me, I hope that now he understands as I move a little bit away from him. I really like the movie and sometimes a weird laugh is coming out from my mouth and every time Jason looks at me he smiles because I know he likes my laugh, I mean it’s contagious.

8:00PM The movie is finished and I ask him if he wants something to eat, he nods and I go to the kitchen to prepare something. When I’m out of my room I see Georgina in the living room and I try to be indifferent about Jason – “Hey Georgina, how are you? How were your days off away from Cobham? – Georgina looks at me laughing and replies: “Woman it was wonderful and you know I like to go back to London when I’m off. Oh! Wait come here I’ll show you what I bought today” She goes in her room and I follow her. When I enter her room, I see in her hands a bag from Victoria’s Secret – “WOW! You know how much I love Victoria’s Secret but I never had the opportunity to buy something as it’s quite expensive.” I reply to her – “Take it, this is for you” Georgina says handing me a perfume she bought today from the shop. I thank her and I head to the kitchen to prepare something for me and Jason. I know he likes chicken and I have some of it in the fridge with some rice. I boil the water for the rice and I start to prepare the chicken with some spices I like: red pepper and garlic powder, some pepper, salt, some paprika powder and rosemary. I prepare a pan with oil and while I’m waiting for the oil to heat up, I receive a message on my phone:

R: “Hi Angelica it’s Raffaele here. I need you to cover tonight because the new night receptionist called in sick and you are the only one who can cover.”

Really nice message I’m very good Raffaele thanks for asking. I shouldn’t be so surprised as it’s my Front Office Manager who doesn’t care about anyone. I ignore the message and I keep cooking.

A nice smell comes out of the kitchen and reaches my room as I receive a message from Jason saying that he loves the smell. The food is ready and I take two plates and I put them on top of each other and I put all the food on one plate. I go to my room when I hear a voice – “We are hungry tonight, aren’t we? Why are you going to your room stay here in the lounge so you can tell me what I have missed in the hotel on the two days that I went away.” Georgina says sitting in the middle of the living room. Normally I’m not a person who says no but this time I have to because I need to keep my secret as I cannot tell her I have someone in the cottage as we shouldn’t invite anyone. I reply to her in a quite nervous way: “You know nothing changed at Cobham always problems and all this food because I’m very hungry as I didn’t eat properly in the last few days and right now I’m watching a really nice movie that I don’t want to miss, so sorry to say no this time. Ahh! Raffaele sent me a message before to go and cover tonight because Elodie called in sick. Georgina I’m not going to cover anyone tonight I need some rest. I will tell him I’m away from Cobham.”  Georgina looks at me with a smile and replies: “No worries I do understand about Raffaele I will cover you. Have a lovely evening.”

I enter my room and I see Jason laughing and repeat the words I said before “I’m very hungry tonight” I look at him and I beg him to be silent as he shouldn’t be here with me. I give him his plate with the rice and chicken and we start to eat. I am really hungry that I ate it all in one go – “Ok Angelica, you were very hungry. Anyways this food is so delicious, how did you learn to cook?” Jason looks at me with two big satisfied eyes for what he’s eating and I reply to him: “All thanks to my mum and also because I keep learning and thank you.” After eating we lie down and we watch another movie. During the movie I start to fall asleep on Jason’s shoulder who starts to stroke my hair gently and he kisses me on the forehead. I make him do it because I was feeling protected and like a little baby girl who sometimes needs cuddles. I really like him and sometimes I would like to have something more with him not only a standard night and then he shows up after a few weeks of not bothering to text me. If only he knew how it makes me feel every time he touches me or every time he looks at me. When I’m with him my heart always beats so fast that I don’t have time to think about what I’m doing and I do things as they come but at the same time it’s like I hate him because it’s not giving me what I want and I cannot consider him something more but only a friend.

I wake up during the night because I hear Jason’s snoring, it’s 3:00AM and I try to wake him up as he is very loud but no luck. I try again and nothing, he is still snoring. I stare at him and I smile at his baby face. I kiss him softly until he kisses me back and we start to kiss each other with more passion and we moved away to catch our breath and Jason with a hand pulls the hair away from my face and whispers in my ear: “how sexy you are!” my heart starts beating fast and without thinking about it I kiss him and I go on top of him. He starts to touch my legs and slowly his hands come up my back stroking it softly. I take his head in my hands and I begin to play with his curly hair and I stop to kiss him because I want to stare at him and look at his beautiful dark eyes in which I always get lost. He doesn’t lose any seconds and he starts to kiss me again, harder this time and he turns me around putting my back on the bed and him on top of me but I stop him and I look at him: “Jason, I really would like to know you better.” I say to him with a weary look after the kiss. He looks at me confused and says: “but these were not our agreements. We said no attachment.” – “Yes and we said not only one night and after you disappear for weeks without sending me any messages if I’m good or if I would like to hang out for a few hours as friends” I say to him straight without thinking the words and he replies like he doesn’t care: “Angelica we agreed on a relationship as friends with benefits and I need time to understand if I want more. At the moment I know I don’t want anything but just having fun. What you are asking from me is for someone who wants to have an attachment with that person and after having a relationship but I’m not the man you think I should be. Sorry.” – “Ok, sorry if I believe I could have something more with you and now I would like you to go, please. Go and don’t call me again, don’t text me back. Go.” I push him away from me and I get out of bed and I start to collect his clothes and give him his clothes so he could get out away my room and away from my life.

Was it a mistake? Yes, it was and I did it because I never had someone before, I never knew how to not let other people take advantage of me, I did it because I enjoyed it until the moment I fell in love. I really don’t know the reason I did this mistake. Sometimes you make mistakes without knowing the reason, probably because you were happy and you were feeling alive in that moment but after did it give you something? No, but I learnt that I need to be more careful to protect myself and my emotions from other people. This doesn’t mean all men are the same, probably outside in the big world and away from Cobham there will be the right one for me, the one who respects me, the one who loves me. I just need to wait.

Jason left the room and I go back to my bed and start to play with my phone trying not to think about what just happened....


Submitted: March 26, 2021

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