by Amanda Joy
First attempt at writing anything other than short story. THANKS for ANY and ALL advice.
| Chapter One
Her fingers were practically frozen, and sliding the key card into the lock was no easy task. When she finally managed to open the door, a blast of warm air hit Izzabell right in the face, instantly warming her frosty cheeks. “Ahhh, that’s nice” she sighed as she made her way into the room. Heading straight for the sitting area she half sat; half laid on the plush sofa.
"Miss. Tyler, your luggage?” the bellhop stated, clearing his throat as if to remind her he was still in the doorway.
“Oh please call me Izzy.” She said as she gestured for him to come inside the room. He was a short, portly man with thin graying hair. He wheeled the luggage cart into the foyer and after unloading her bags, he graciously accepted the gratuity that she offered and made his exit.
Closing the door behind him, she pulled off her gloves, and leaned heavily against the wall. She'd barely had time to breathe since her arrival at the airport. Her exhaustion and near frostbite had taken its toll and all she wanted to do was get to her room and have a cocktail...or three.
Walking over to the large window, Izzy could see the magnificent city skyline. “Nice view” she thought to herself, taking in the scenery. The February sky was overcast and light flurries were falling in short bursts. A thick blanket of snow covered the ground and most of the cars that were parked along the street. There were a handful of people scattered around, pretending to enjoy the cold and dreary day. Young couples and families posed for pictures with frozen smiles on their faces and a group of tourists were being hurried onto a waiting bus. Izzy loved New York City; although she would have chosen a much warmer month to visit. She had to keep reminding herself that this particular trip was for business and not for pleasure this time. At least she had been able to sway her boss into letting her stay in the city, insisting that the hour drive north, to Bedford Hills, would give her time to think and analyze.
"Brrrr" she said backing away from the window. The cold air seemed to be seeping through the glass. Closing the thick curtains, she turned to survey her room. It was absolutely lovely, much nicer than any she had ever stayed in. One of the perks of “making it big” she thought to herself as she took it all in. The colors were rich, deep and inviting. The sitting room contained a sofa, two chairs and a small desk. Just past the flat screen television that hung on the wall, was a set of double doors that opened up to reveal a spacious bedroom. Her eyes first fell on the king sized bed topped with a down comforter and way too many pillows for one person. There were a few steps leading into a sunken bathroom that was quite exquisite and Izzy's chill began to melt away as the thought of a nice hot bath flooded her mind.
Retrieving her luggage from the other room, she spotted a mini bar. “First things first” she thought as she left her bags by the bed and headed to the treasure box. She was delighted when she found out that not only did it contain the usual alcohol, but it was also stocked with an assortment of sweets. She’d always had a bit of a sweet tooth. Luckily, she’d been blessed with good genes and all the sugar she’d consumed over the years hadn’t negatively affected her curvy physique. She knew her luck wouldn’t last forever, but chocolate was definitely her weakness.
Armed with a whiskey in one hand and a bag of peanut M&M’s in the other, Izzy made her way to the bathtub. Fidgiting with the knobs and making sure the water temperature was nice and hot, she left the tub to fill. Taking the last sip of whiskey, she cringed. "Yuck" she said. She had never really been a “drinker”, but she did like the way it warmed her chest and belly, so she poured herself another. Finishing off the last M&M, she tossed the wrapper in the trash and grabbed her toiletries and a change of clothes and headed back for the bathroom. Wiping the steam from the mirror, she studied her reflection. Straight, chestnut hair hung loosely at her shoulders framing her pretty face in choppy layers. There were streaks of red and gold scattered through out, the gold bringing out the gold in her eyes. Pinning her hair back with a barrette, she began to undress.
Stepping slowly into the steamy water, Izzy heard a muffled knock. "Huh", she said to herself, waiting curiously to make sure she’d actually heard the knock. Tap, tap, tap…there it was again and it was definitely at her door. "Uggh" she groaned, stepping back out of the tub. Her relaxing bath would just have to wait a little longer. She grabbed the plush white robe that was hanging on the back of the door, compliments of The Belvedere Hotel, and slid it on.
“Coming…” she announced, walking to the door. Had she forgotten something in the cab? Using the peephole she saw a woman whom she didn’t recognize at all. “Who in the world”… she muttered and then jumped as the woman began knocking again.
“Yes?” Izzy asked through the door.
“I will not speak to a door” the woman stated rather rudely.
At that, Izzy was ready to tell the woman to get lost but deciding that kindness would get her back to her bath faster, she opened the door and greeted the stranger with a stiff smile. “Can I help you Ma’am?”
“I certainly hope so” she said, pushing past Izzabell and into the room. “That is no way to open the door and greet someone. You should really put on some clothes,” she said without even looking at Izzy's face. Glancing nervously around the room, the woman finally made eye contact with Izzy. The woman flinched and Izzy could see a look of uncertainty in the woman’s icy blue eyes, despite the authoritative tone of her voice.
“Um, excuse me Ma’am, but what are you doing in my room and why are you ordering me around? If there is something I can do for you, then I’m all ears, but if you just wanted to barge in and shout orders, then you will have to just find someone else. I have a nice warm bath waiting for me and I will not be insulted by some stranger.” Izzy was furious and although she wanted to be kind, her patience was wearing thin with this woman.
Suddenly and without warning, the woman’s shoulders slumped and she began to sob.
“Shit” Izzy said under her breath, she didn’t think she’d been that mean. She walked over to the woman and led her to the sofa to sit down. Leaving her crying on the sofa, she ran to the mini bar to grab a bottle of water. “Here you go. It’s ok, just calm down” she whispered as she handed the woman the bottle.
“Thank you” the woman sniffled. “I’m really very sorry for this intrusion. I’ve been so emotional lately and…oh…what am I doing here, rambling on? I honestly just wanted to use your phone to call the front desk. It seems I’ve lost my room key and need to be let in. You see, I’m right across the hall from you…really, I’m very sorry.” She said as she stood up and tried to regain her composure.
“Oh, yeah, okay, well it’s not a problem at all” Izzy fumbled for words. “Here, just sit back down, drink some water and whenever you’re ready you can use the phone, okay?” She sat down beside the woman, not sure what to do next.
Resting her head in her hand the woman shook her head as she stared down at her feet. Izzy studied the woman, trying to figure her out. She had a pale, almost porcelain complexion and her thick dark hair hung past her shoulders and framed her face in soft, silver tinged, waves. Izzy guessed that she was in her early fifties by the soft wrinkles that surrouned her mouth and eyes. She didn’t realize she was staring until the woman looked up at her and quickly stood to her feet. Izzy stood as well and lightly placed her hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” she asked and the woman jumped a little and shook her head “no”. With an abrubt turn, the woman was heading for the door. “Wait!” Izzy said, “Don’t you want to use the phone?”
“I’m so sorry to have bothered you” the woman stated in a flat tone. She looked back at Izzy as she opened the door and stepped into the hallway. The coldness in her eyes gave Izzy a chill, but Izzy could tell that there was something deeper under the surface. The woman shut the door softly and Izzy could hear her footsteps as she made her way toward the elevator.
“Uh…what the hell just happened?” she asked the empty room.
Still uneasy about the event that had just taken place, Izzy was thankful to find that her bath water was still very warm. Drinking the rest of her whiskey, she made herself comfortable in the huge tub, letting the warmth radiate inside and out. Deciding to push the strange woman from her thoughts, she tried to focus on what she had actually come to New York City for in the first place.