The Guests in Room 129
Lyle opened the door, cringing at the shrill creak that it emitted. He stepped back, gesturing Elanor through into the room. Her nose wrinkled in immediate distaste, but she remained silent as she stepped in. Lyle followed behind her, dropping the key into his pocket and dumping his suitcase on one of the beds. Elanor held her own close to her side, as though someone would jump from the rickety wardrobe and take it if she strayed too far from it.
“What do you think, darling?” Lyle said cheerily.
Elanor shot him a cold glare. “It’ll have to do, won’t it?” she replied, her words measured and biting. Lyle flinched and broke away from her gaze. He turned away to step out onto the attached patio. Elanor finally set her suitcase on the far bed, opening it and pulling out clothes, refolding them for lack of anything better to do. After emptying both suitcases into the old dresser, she sat on the bed and glanced around.
The walls were an ugly mustard yellow color, and the beds had brown, green, and white stripes. The carpet was dark brown and, she was sure, coarse underfoot. The least offensive object in the room was the chair beside the door, made of dark wood and cream-colored fabric. Walking over to it, she sat, only to immediately shoot right back up. That had to be the most uncomfortable chair in the world! Huffing indignantly, she stalked out after Lyle.
Her husband was sitting at the small glass table in an old wicker chair that looked as if it may collapse beneath his weight. Elanor took the seat opposite him on the equally unsteady bench. She crossed her legs and brushed her hair out of her eyes, straightening her day dress beneath her. “You look lovely, darling,” Lyle said, seeing her fidget.
“Quite lost in this place,” she sniffed. “The way that man in the lobby spoke, as though no one ever taught him manners!”
“Remember, my love, these people are not used to seeing a proper lady like yourself gracing their halls.”
Elanor glared at him. “And rightly so! Can you imagine any of our friends being caught dead in a place like this?”
“None of our friends are experiencing the… difficulties that we-“
“Difficulties!” Elanor shouted, somewhat hysterical now. “You mean the difficulties where you threw away all of our money and lost us everything?” Lyle tried to hush her, eyeing the wooden fence separating them from other guests. “None of our friends experience those difficulties because none of them are as foolish as you!” She stood and stalked back into the room angrily, the clashing colors only serving to fuel her rage.
Lyle followed at a calmer pace, shutting the back door gently behind himself. “I made some bad investments,” he said softly. “I told you, I can fix this, I just need some time to figure things out.”
Elanor stared resolutely at the wall, ignoring him. “Well, once you get our home back and restore our standing in our circle, then come see me. Because until then you don’t have a prayer of fixing us.” With that she stood and walked into the en suite bathroom, slamming the door in Lyle’s distraught face.