Short Story Room 404 von Dagmar Taylor
Ein kleines Versehen verändert das Leben zweier Menschen für immer. Wenn Ihnen die Kurzgeschichte über die Taylors gefallen hat, können Sie in der neuen Heft-Rubrik „Material World" der September-Ausgabe mehr über die beiden erfahren. Von Dagmar Taylor
Matt wheeled his suitcase to the hotel reception desk. “Hello! I’d like to check in, please. My name’s Taylor.”
The receptionist, who was just starting her shift, found herself looking into a friendly, smiling face. She smiled back. “Good evening, Mr Taylor. So, let’s check you in.”
It was late, and Matt was tired. It had been a long day in the studio, and he was ready to fall into bed. He didn’t much like being away from home. There was always something he had forgotten to pack — razor, charger, underpants. He wondered what he’d forgotten this time.
“You’re in room 404 on the fourth floor, Mr Taylor. I’m afraid the main key is missing, so I’ll give you the spare one. The lift’s over there on the right. Is there anything else I can do for you tonight?”
“No, thanks. Oh, yes — what time is breakfast served?”
“From 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., sir.”
“OK, thanks — and good night.” Matt smiled at the receptionist again, this time a little wearily. That poor woman would have to stay up till morning, he thought.
Bella walked over to the window to close the curtains and noticed that she had a view over the city. She opened the window and looked out at the twinkling lights. She tried to make out the exhibition centre, where she’d spent the day giving cooking demonstrations. It was down there somewhere. She walked over to the bed, pulled back the covers and lay down. Why had she eaten so much? Because it had all been so delicious, especially that salted caramel tart, and also because, she didn’t mind admitting, she had been rather greedy. She pushed aside her jacket and put her hand on her tummy. It felt very round. This must be what it feels like to be pregnant, she thought — and then: “Stop! I need to find a nice guy who isn’t married before I start thinking like that.” She got up to clean her teeth. Matt opened the door. The light was on. He looked around the room and saw that the bed was unmade, and there was an open case on the sofa. He quickly stepped outside again to check the number on the door. It said 404. He paused to consider his next move and realized that he could hear water running in the bathroom. Oh, no! He had to get out before he gave someone a heart attack. Matt quickly closed the door. It slammed a little louder than he had expected. He would have to go back to reception and clear this up. He pulled his case down the long hall towards the lift.
In the bathroom, Bella stood completely still. Had she just heard her door closing? Was the person who had shut the door inside her room, or had that person left? Bella’s heart was beating so hard that it almost hurt. She put her ear to the door, but she couldn’t hear anything. She had watched enough crime shows to know what to do. She looked around for something she could use as a weapon. There was a toilet brush, but that wouldn’t be much help. For a very brief moment, she considered trying to unscrew the toilet lid. Stupid idea. There was nothing else. She took a deep breath and opened the door — just a little.
Carefully, she looked round the door jamb, but couldn’t see anyone. Moving slowly, Bella checked under the bed, behind the curtains, in the wardrobe. She gave a sigh of relief and made sure her door was locked. It took a long time for her to fall asleep.
The receptionist was googling through the guest list. It was a fun way to pass the evening, and she had just discovered that nice Mr Taylor was a successful TV exec-utive. She looked up and suddenly saw him standing in front of her. Quickly, she closed the browser.
“I think I’ve got the wrong room,” Matt began. “There’s someone in room 404.”
“Oh!” said the receptionist, clearly surprised. “Mr, er...” Her voice trailed off. She could hardly admit that she had just been reading his online profile.
“Taylor,” said Matt.
“How embarrassing,” the receptionist continued. “Room 404 is reserved under the name of Taylor, but a Ms Taylor. Now I know why the main key was missing. I’ll give you a new room immediately. I’m so sorry, sir.”
“Mistakes can happen.”
“Yes, but I’m really sorry. I’ve upgraded you to an executive suite — room 406. Well, actually, it’s the honeymoon suite.”
“Thank you.” Matt started to walk towards the lift.
“Mr Taylor?” Matt turned to look at the receptionist. “Listen,... thanks for being so nice about this.”
“Not to worry,” replied Matt. “You’re sure it’s empty, right? I’m not going to walk in on some happy couple, am I?”
The receptionist laughed nervously. “I hope not.”
Bella followed the smell of toast and bacon into the breakfast room. She was still full from the evening before, but she did need a cup of coffee — or two. It hadn’t been the best night. She had woken up several times and had had a strange dream about being at her own wedding. In the dream, she was in a lovely church, wearing a beautiful dress, and there were lots of guests, but no groom.
Damn! There weren’t any free tables. She’d have to sit with someone and make small talk. Bella wasn’t in the mood. She decided to wait until someone left.
“Are you looking for a table? You can sit here if you like.”
Bella looked down into a lovely smiling face. “Yes. Er, thank you.”
The waiter came over immediately, and she ordered a large café au lait. She looked around the room and yawned.
“Tired?” asked the smiling man.
Although Bella really wasn’t in the mood to chat, she didn’t want to be rude either. And the man did look nice.
“I had the worst night. I’m sure I heard someone in my room. I didn’t sleep well. I was worrying about it all night.”
The man looked at her carefully for a moment. “You weren’t in room 404, were you?”
Bella stared back, trying to work out how he could have known this. She saw that he hadn’t shaved. Maybe he was trying to grow a beard. Ugh, beards! “Yes, 404. How did you know?” She paused. “Was it you?” she asked incredulously.
“Actually, it was. But just for a moment.” Matt smiled, trying to reassure her. “There was a mix-up. The receptionist gave me the wrong key. I’m Matt. Matt Taylor.”
“Oh, because of our names.” Bella’s eyes were open wide, and she was pointing at Matt. “They thought you were my husband,” she blushed. “Sorry, I’m Bella. Bella Taylor.”
“Hi, Bella! I’m sorry about last night. Maybe I can invite you to lunch to make up for it?”
“No, no. Don’t be sorry. It wasn’t your fault.”
“Is that no to lunch, too?” asked Matt.
Bella laughed. “Actually, that would be a ‘yes’ to lunch,” she said.
“We’d like to check in, please. The name’s Taylor. Mr and Mrs Taylor.”
“Good evening, sir. I’ll just get the key for y...” The receptionist recognized that smile. Wasn’t it the guy she’d sent to the wrong room? When had that happened? Something like a year ago. “Wait a minute. I remember you,” she said.
“And we remember you. You’re the reason we got to know each other,” said Bella.
“Really? I’m so glad you’ve both come back to stay with us. And I see you’ve booked the honeymoon suite — together. Are congratulations in order?”
“You could say that,” laughed Matt.
“Congratulations!” The receptionist beamed at the happy couple. “Everything should be ready for you. If there’s any-thing at all that you need, just let me know.”
“Thanks very much,” said Matt,“ but I think we’ve got everything.”