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Authors: Rachael Wade

Othello Station

BOOK: Othello Station
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All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,

places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination

or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual events or

locales or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. No part

of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever

without written permission of the author except in the case of brief

quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

Copyright © 2015 Rachael Wade

www.RachaelWade.com

 

Cover Design: Robin Ludwig Design Inc.

 

 

OTHELLO STATION

RACHAEL WADE

Inspired by
Mess is Mine
by Vance Joy

To certain people, and a certain hotel, in a certain part of town, who gave this story life. And to a boy, who shall never be revealed, who unknowingly helped launch me back into the Land of the Living. It feels good to be back. Thank you.

PROLOGUE

“You’ve got a good spot, here.” My dad looks at me with all the love in the world. This man is my fucking hero. “You’re gonna go far in life, Son. You’ve already blown your mother and me out of the water.”

“Alright, Dad. Stop.”

“Too much?”

“Yup.”

“Tough shit, Kid. You’re mine and I get bragging rights. Look at this!” He tugs my facial hair and slaps my shoulder. “Strong, sophisticated, intelligent—” His chest heaves up and down, and he begins to cough. He reaches for his handkerchief. It’s the dark navy one, the one with our family initials. My lips press together in a tight, firm line. They’re choking on the anger, on the injustice.

Choking on the pain.

He coughs into the handkerchief, turning and bending away from me. A drop of blood remains on the corner of his mouth. He wipes at it as soon as he gets the coughing fit under control.

“You good?” I risk a glance at him and my misty eyes betray me. Every time I see him could be the last.

He eyes me and looks away. “Please. You think this is gonna keep me from life? Hell no, Son. This is just the beginning.”

“Dad.”

“Don’t. Just promise me something, will ya?”

“Anything.”

“Don’t let this get in the way.”

“Of what?”

“Anything. Everything. Be good to yourself.”

“Quit talking like that.”

“I mean it.” The Lightrail arrives, and I focus on the setting sun. “Live, love, and let the past stay where it belongs. In the ground, with the dirt. Don’t let anything harden you.”

“I’m not sure it’s that easy.”

“Yes, it is.” He squeezes my shoulder and adjusts his laptop bag, swinging it higher up his arm. “Just let the light guide you home, Kid. It never steers you wrong.”

My throat begins to close up, and I’m suffocating from the weight he’s placed there, drowning in it. But I give him what he needs. A smile and an affectionate gesture. A squeeze of the shoulder, the same one he’s given me, each time, as this very station. The stop that I’ll always call home.

Othello Station.

 

ONE

“Michaelson,” I repeat, for the third time. I stare down at the brunette who cannot seem to properly spell my last name.

“I’m sorry, Sir…your first name again?”

I grit my teeth and roll my eyes. “Grant.”

She glances up at me nervously, then drops her dark brown eyes back to the computer screen. They’re almost black. Fair skin, burgundy lips, chocolate eyes. A timeless beauty. Apparently, her brains do not match her good looks.

“Yes. Right. Sorry. One moment, please.”

The more I look at her, I realize she’s not really that hot. Not in a glamorous, bombshell way, anyway. The soft press of her long curls and her dainty chin, paired with the aged silver pendant hanging from her neck give her a vintage glow, as if she hails from another era. She’s actually very plain. My gaze drops to her tits. Decent.

“I made my reservation on-line last night. I received the confirmation. I don’t see what the problem is.”

She types faster. Her shoulders and lips tense. “There’s no problem, I assure you. I’m just…sort of new. I’m still getting a hang of the system and the check-in procedure. I apologize for the delay.”

I lean on the edge of the hotel front desk, tapping my fingers in front of the computer screen. Scanning the other two front desk clerks, I nod in their direction. “Okay, well,” I look at her name tag, “Mira, is it? Is there any way you can practice on another customer while one of these guys checks me in, instead? I’ve had a really long day and I need to get to my room.”

“Um…I’m not sure.” She peeks at her co-workers, who are already assisting other customers. I guess I’m pushing my luck here, but shit, this girl doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing. “They’re pretty busy. If you don’t mind waiting just a few more seconds, I’ll be able to find you in the system. I just need to retrieve your reservation and add it to your existing customer profile—”

“Fine. Whatever, I don’t need the details. Just do whatever it is you need to do.” I lift my hand in a dismissive wave and step back, shoving my fists in my pockets. All that matters is I’m here. I’m away from my apartment for the next two nights. Just enough time to breathe. Just enough time to gather my thoughts and get some space, a fresh perspective.

“Oh!” Mira suddenly pipes up. It seems she’s staying true to her word. Her face lights up. “I found you. Okay, let’s get you checked in.”

“Finally,” I mutter, stepping forward again, leaning over the desk. I watch the computer screen as she watches it, following her every move. I don’t have any more mental energy to waste. If this girl hits another roadblock and doesn’t finish checking me in, I just might lose my shit and make a scene right here, in this lobby. I need a quiet room, a stiff drink, and then a woman to fuck, as quickly as possible, in that order.

She takes care of a few final details and then moves to make my room keys, jumping straight into her spiel. “Okay, perfect! So, we have you in a fantastic room on the top floor, with a view of the Space Needle. Your complimentary wi-fi password is included in your key packet, and a buffet breakfast is included each morning here in the dining area from 6:30 am to 9:30 a.m. We offer a courtesy shuttle that will take you anywhere within a mile of the hotel and it runs twenty-four hours—”

“Great,” I cut her off again. “Just the key, please.”

Her lips are still parted. She’s disoriented for a second, but quickly catches on and nods briskly, slipping the key into the paper packet.

I stop her as she reaches to hand it to me. “Actually, make that two, please.”

“Two keys?”

“Yes. I’ll have a guest.”

“Certainly. No problem.” She hurries and makes another key, swinging around the edge of the desk to step in front of me. She hands me the packet and extends a hand. “Again, my name’s Mira. If you need anything at all, please just ask. Enjoy your stay.”

I look down at her hand as it hangs there, in midair.

Her eyes wander from side to side.

She stutters. “This is..um…it’s just a standard. Part of our policy.”

“To shake hands with every person you check in?”

“Yes.”

“No thanks.” I take the key and veer around her, adjusting the weight of my backpack. When I reach the elevator, I insert the key and press the button for the 8
th
floor. The doors shut. The elevator doesn’t move. I swipe the card again, giving the 8
th
floor button another poke.

Still nothing.

“Goddamn it.” I hit the button that opens the doors and take a hasty, irritated step back out into the lobby. The clerks at the front desk are still busy. I stalk right up to Mira, who’s standing attentively beside her co-worker, shadowing him. She eyes me warily.

“Is there a problem with your room, Sir?”

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t made it off the first floor.” I toss the room keys on the desktop and sigh. “Keys don’t work.”

She excuses herself and moves back to her computer, reaching into the drawer for a new set of keys. She taps away at the keyboard. “I’m so sorry. That happens sometimes. I promise, I programmed them correctly.”

“It’s fine.” It’s not fine. I’m positively going to snap on this girl and this whole damn hotel if I don’t get some space super fucking quick. I watch her as she works, tapping my fingers on the edge of the desk. Her eyes follow the movement. I stop tapping and stick my hands back into my pockets.

“Okay,” she exhales and shoots me a hopeful grin, “this should do the trick. I’ll walk you to the elevator and make sure they work this time.”

“That’s not necessary.” I reach for the new keys.

“I insist.”

My lips press together and my nostrils flare. “After you.” I wave toward the elevator. She tucks her hair behind her ear and scurries around the desk, leading the way. My gaze automatically drops to her ass. Nice. Very nice. I could definitely sink my teeth into that. Too bad she’s short a few brain cells. Then again, it’s not brains I’m after at the moment.

We step inside the elevator and wait for the doors to glide shut. Mira swipes the new key card and hits the button for the 8
th
floor. “Perfect!” She turns and smiles up at me, but her smile only deepens the scowl on my face. This chick is way too nice. I know the art of hospitality is one big ass-kissing business, but this is ridiculous. I’ve been a total douchebag to her from the moment I approached the front desk. “So…” Her smile falls a little and she redirects her attention to the shiny elevator doors. “Are you in town for work or fun?”

“Neither.”

“Oh?”

“I’m local. I live in the Columbia City area.”

“Do you, really?”

No, I’m actually from Mars. My eyes roll to the left. “Yes, really.”

Silence fills the space.

“I’ve never been to Columbia City,” she finally says. “I mean, I’ve passed it on the Lightrail, of course.”

“Yeah. I’m right next to Othello Station.  That’s my stop.”

“Oh! The luxury apartments right there? Directly across from the station?”

“Yep, that’s the one.”

“I’m new to Seattle. Still learning my way around.”

I peek up to see the floor number. If this girl thinks I’m going to keep up this small talk, she’s mistaken. “That’s nice.” The bell dings and the doors glide open, thankfully revealing the 8
th
floor. “Have a good one.”

“You too.” She waves shyly as I step out.

I don’t wait for the doors to close. I stride down the hall to find my room and release a huge sigh of relief the moment the key unlocks the door. I chuck my bag on the desk as soon as I enter, then stroll over to the window to check out the view. Nothing I haven’t seen before. The Space Needle, tall and grand, decked out in blue and green lights to celebrate the Seahawks’ recent victories. Football’s not my thing, but I root for my city’s team. They’re damn good. Going to the Superbowl soon, in fact.

A canvas of layers of grey sits as a backdrop to the Needle like crushed, smoky velvet. Everyone bitches that this city is so gloomy. It’s the most colorful city I know. From the rich, green tips of the Evergreens reaching up into the sky to the hustle and bustle of Pike Place Market, it’s downright vibrant. People that bitch need to pack up and move to California. Get out of my city, assholes.

I plop onto the king-sized bed and reach for the remote. I almost kick off my brown brogue shoes but change my mind. What if I want to go out for a drink? What if I don’t want to stay holed up in this room afterall? Whatever happened to needing space? Now I just want noise.

Shit.

I drop the remote and pull myself back up and off the bed, doing a quick check in the dresser mirror. Whoever says guys aren’t vain are liars. We’re just as vain as some women. This dirty blond facial hair? This tailored navy blazer? They matter. It always matters. You gotta feel good on the outside to walk the walk and talk the talk. I like sophistication. Clean, smart sophistication.

I lift the collar of my coat and pat my back pocket for my wallet, then make my way back out into the hall, puffing out a breath as I step into the elevator. I don’t know where I’m going. I really don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I only know I need a drink and some female company. I chose this hotel because it’s out of my comfort zone. It’s something different. Seattle, the biggest, smallest city. I have my spots around here, watering holes that know my name. I went to college here a few years back. But tonight, I don’t want to be found.

The elevator doors open, welcoming me back into the lobby, which looks much different than it did just minutes ago. There is no hustle or bustle. There are not multiple clerks at the desk, waiting on demanding customers. Only the too cheerful, friendly receptionist named Mira. The one with the sweet ass. She catches my presence from the corner of her eye and sends me a half smile, as if she can’t decide whether or not to engage at all. I can’t blame her. I’m a pretty grumpy bastard. Like a Carebear. That cloudy one. Or was it a stormy one?

I start for the lobby doors. They slide open automatically when they sense my movement, but I turn around instead, scanning the left side of the reception area. A wrap-around bar is stationed there, with sleek black and grey marble countertops and matching stools. Cautious steps carry me toward it.

“Is this open?” I ask gruffly, pointing to the stools.

Mira’s shoulders tense a bit. She moves around the desk, in my direction. “Yes. Until midnight. Can I get you something?”

I survey the empty lobby. “You’re here by yourself? You play bar tender, too?”

She grins sheepishly. “It’s how things work around here. We’re multitasking experts. It’s kind of fun, actually.”

“It’s kind of cheap, actually,” I zing right back, matching her tone. She blinks and her lips part, then close.

“Well, I…uh…”

“It’s just a shitty move, I mean. Your company is cheap, having you bar tend and work reception. What kind of bullshit is that?” She watches me with a wary gaze, remaining quiet, allowing me to carry on with my rant. “They’re taking advantage of you, that’s all.”

She casts an uneasy glance over her shoulder and then takes a few brave steps toward me, moving to the edge of the counter. “So…can I get you something?”

“Oh. Yeah. I’ll take a Schooner Downtown Brown.” I point to the display behind her, and she jumps into action right away, asking if I’d like it in a chilled glass.

“Yes.”

“Coming right up.” She slides the beer over the counter and glances up at me during the exchange. I take another good look at her, getting a better glimpse up close. Her eyes are a deep, dark brown, but crystal clear, so flawless.

“Thanks.” There. Not so grumpy.

“Can I get you anything else?”

My eyes drop to her cleavage. “That’s all for now.”

She takes that as a cue to strike up conversation again. This is what I get for saying thank you. “So you live around Columbia City, huh? What are you doing in this part of town?”

I stare and blink. We’ve already discussed this.

“I mean, why the hotel visit if you live so close?”

All of my defenses fire away. My hand grips the beer glass and my jaw clenches. “Personal reasons.” Boom. Lockdown.

“Of course.” She looks down and busies herself, wiping the counter with a washcloth.

I take a healthy swig of beer and cock a brow. “So, where’d everyone go? You’re working the desk alone now, too?”

“Yeah, until eleven-ish. The others just left.”

“What happens at midnight?”

“Our night auditor takes over.”

I nod, eyeing the lobby. “It’s like a ghost town.”

“January is our slowest month.”

“Have you worked here long? Didn’t you say you’re new to Seattle?” I watch her move as she checks the front entrance and marks something on a clipboard. What the hell am I doing talking to this girl? I need to get up and leave. Now.

“I’m new-ish.”

“Define new-ish.”

“I’ve been here a few months now.”

“You live right downtown, here?”

“Close. Capitol Hill.”

BOOK: Othello Station
9.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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