AChapADay: Chapter Eleven

Friday, April 13

Hank stepped out of the elevator in the lobby and was about to cross to his office when he noticed a woman standing at the check-in desk.  He stopped in his tracks. There was something familiar about her mannerisms. The way she tugged on one side of her hair and shifted her weight. He was trying to place her when she turned around to face him. Nothing about her appearance sparked recognition. He was sure her face was not one he’d seen before. 

Hank looked outside but didn’t see a car – just more snow falling. How did this woman get here?

“I’d like to get a room please,” she said, when Hank continued to say nothing.  “That is, if you have any vacancies?” 

“Oh! Of course, I’m sorry about that.” He hustled around the back of the desk and woke the computer.  He’d given the front desk staff the weekend off. It would be difficult for anyone to get anywhere in this snowstorm and he knew they likely wouldn’t have more guests. He’d been shocked when Sharice, the spa manager showed up.

“How long will you be staying?” 

The woman busied herself with her purse in an effort, it seemed to Hank, to avoid eye contact. “I’m not sure.  Maybe through Sunday?”

Hank typed and then turned the screen around to face the woman.  “I have several options for you.  We have the Evergreen Suite, a truly stunning…”

“I’ll stop you there.  I don’t need anything special.  Just a king size bed and no frills.”  As she spoke, she scanned the restaurant behind Hank, and down the two halls.  She pulled a credit card out of her purse and slid it across the desk.

Hank processed the card and was going into a description of all of the amenities she could take advantage of, should she find the time, when she interrupted him for the second time.

“Thanks, I’m sure I can figure it out.  What room?” She put her credit card away and put her hand out for the key card.

Hank handed it to her.

“Yes, sure, you’re in 114, just down the hall to the left.  There is one other group down that hall but otherwise you have it to yourself.  You practically have the whole lodge to yourself!”

She was already walking away and swinging an overnight bag over her shoulder.  “Hope it’s not haunted,” she called back.

It was so very odd.  Even her walk felt familiar.  Hank seemed to recognize everything about the way she moved, but her face and hair and entire look was that of a stranger.  And again, where could she have come from?  Maybe she parked somewhere he couldn’t see from here.  He was about to go look again when the front desk phone rang.



Hannah, Sari, and Mack were practicing the dance moves Brie had just taught them.  They were laughing more than they were dancing, and Brie was trying to be mad about it, but she couldn’t stop laughing either.  She started the music again.


“Are they yelling for us?” Sari asked, falling onto the couch.  Brie picked her phone up and paused the music.  The girls listened.


“Yikes, we should probably go down,” Mack said.  They ran down the stairs and found their moms standing with their hands on their hips.

“I mean, it only took like six times!” Grace said, crossing her arms.

“Sorry mom,” Sari said. “What’s up?”

Grace put her arm around Sari and squeezed.  “We made appointments for you to get either your nails, makeup, or hair done, you get to choose.”

The girls’ mouths dropped open.  “What?  Where?” Mack asked.

“Here,” Scout said, she was putting shoes on.  “The salon in this place is actually open this weekend.  There is only one person working, so you will go one at a time, but how fun will that be?  We’ll walk you down.”

Within five minutes, the girls and their moms were walking past the restaurant and to a glass door at the beginning of the opposite hall to theirs.  When they walked in, they found a large woman dancing to Aretha Franklin playing loudly over the speakers.  She didn’t appear to hear the bell that jingled with the door.  

“R-E-S-P-ECT…” she sang in a surprisingly good voice.  As she danced, she turned towards the door and saw the group.  She clapped her hands.

“Come in, come in!  I’m so glad you girls are here.  Take a seat!” her speaking voice was as musical and lovely as her singing voice.  She pointed to four salon chairs and Hannah, Brie, Sari, and Mack each chose one and sat.

“Mommas, you can go, your girls are safe here with Sharice!  We’re going to have all kinds of fun!”

Scout kissed Mack on the head and spun her in her salon chair.  Grace whispered something to Sari before she went.  Ally, Brie’s mom, ruffled her hair, and Myra, Hannah’s mom, said “don’t mess with that gorgeous hair my love” and blew her a kiss.  

Sharice clapped her hands again and turned the music down a bit.  “Ladies, here’s what I worked out with your beautiful mommas!  You can get nails done, either a manicure or pedicure, or you can get your makeup done, or you can get your hair styled – but no cuts.  We don’t want any angry mommas coming after Sharice.  And I only have two hands, so you’ll be here for awhile, but we’ll get some treats and have a spa day.  Who will be first?”

The girls looked at each other, none willing to say they did or did not want to go first.  Finally Hannah popped the gum she’d been chewing and said “me!  I’ll go.  I want a manicure, please.  Can you do nail art?”

“Oh girl, you have no idea.  I need you in that chair.” Sharice pointed one of her own long pointy fluorescent blue nails to a manicure station.

“Is this what our moms do at all of their Girls Weekends?  If so, I want to go every time from now on!” Brie said as Sharice started filing Hannah’s nails.

The music was great.  It was mostly oldies, but songs everyone knows, so the girls ended up singing along with Sharice as she did Hannah’s nails.  When a Beyonce song came on, Brie told the girls to try their dance moves.  Sari and Mack were doing their best to remember the steps, and giggling as Sharice yelled encouragement.  When the bell attached to the salon door jingled, they all looked up, red faced and smiling.

“Well!  I’m so sorry to interrupt.  I’m guessing it’s quite a wait for a pedicure?”

“Ms. Jones!” Mack nearly toppled her when she ran to hug her.  She couldn’t believe her luck.  “You’re still here!”

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