“I’m sorry children, but there’s been a mistake with your reservation. You’ll have to wait a minute because there are other guests waiting,” says the clerk at the front desk. She says children as if we're all a group of teary eyed, snot-filled nosed three year olds. Dressed in a black suit with a powder blue blouse under her vest, the lady looks old. In actuality, she was probably only in her twenties. But the stress of the job must be the reason her face looks like…that. It could also be the rod up her ass.
“What do you mean there’s been a mistake?” Dom starts shouting at the lady. I’ve lost total interest in that argument already. Dom’s much more assertive in situations like this. So I take this time to analyze the inside of the hotel. The outside’s gorgeous. It’s a really tall building made of gray stone. That doesn’t sound too attractive, but it adds to the illusion of the hotel, named Watercress Castle. There are two towers running alongside the front of the building to look like the towers of the “castle”. In the prettiest shade of teal, Watercress Castle is written on the front of the building, in the type of writing style you’d see back in the day at Hogwarts. Nice, right? Picked it out myself.
But what really took the cake was the inside. It was outrageous! Once you cross into the “draw bridge” door, the whole place is carpeted in a royal blue. The check-in desk is positioned in the middle of the lobby, in front of the prettiest of waterfalls. Crystal blue water dances over the sparkling rocks. On each side there are two entrances leading to the dining hall on the left and the ballroom on the right. In front of these oval entrances, something gives the illusion of shimmering rain coming down. Hold it! I thought there wasn’t any magic in muggle areas. What the hell is this? My eyes follow a beam above my head across the room to a projector. Oh. Duh. Another projector makes the words “Welcome to Watercress” show onto the rain in cursive, coming up credit style. It's very elegant. Elevators were located on each side of the building, two in the front and two in the back.
I turn around to see behind me, watching groups of people come in and out and walk around, some with a destination, others aimlessly. They’re all so well dressed in fur coats and top hats. And they’re all so…rich and gorgeous looking. It’s as if I’m walking among Greek gods or something. A world of perfect, and I'm the only mishap. Jolly.
“Well, what are we supposed to do?” I finally tune my attention to the desk again, where the little dispute has blown into a big one. The stressed out lady is scowling at Dom, Dom is yelling at the lady, Roxy is yelling at Dom for yelling at the lady, James is yelling at Al for yelling at him for yelling at Roxy for yelling at Dom for yelling at the lady, the long line of people behind us are yelling at each other AND us, and if everyone doesn’t shut the hell up I’m going to yell my fucking head off.
“Good evening Elaine.” Everyone quiets down and turns around to face whoever spoke. Of course, I’m the only one that gasps. Why? Because standing off to the side of our chaotic dung-load of a group is the most GORGEOUS creature I have ever seen. I mean really. That’s just not fucking fair. How am I supposed to find my happily ever after when I look like a red-headed troll and he looks like…like THAT! I mean, the boy is beautiful. His tousled brown hair falls into his sparkling gray blue eyes ever so slightly. A light layer of freckles sprinkle his nose. His gray polo sweater brings out his eyes even more (not that it’s needed, they’re bloody magnificent on their own) and it certainly doesn’t help mask my infatuation seeing how it accents his perfectly tone chest the way it does.
And he's nicely dressed, with a gray sweater over a blue button up with the sleeves rolled up to reveal a set of strong arms. And black pants. Not to mention, he’s smiling, flashing a row of perfect white teeth. I’m convinced he just stepped out of a magazine. A sexy magazine full of sexy men like his sexy self. Having had dropped my jaw, I push it back to its rightful place and turn back to the clerk, who at this point has wiped the scowl off her face and is relaxed exponentially. Huh.
“Hello, Calvin,” she greets the god. Calvin. The god’s name is Calvin. Calvin the God. “I-I mean Mr. Morrissey,” she corrects, shooting a dirty look sideways at me. Listen woman, I can shoot dirty looks too. And my looks kill. So watch yourself.
“Something wrong?” he asks, approaching the desk. No, don’t get closer! I’m intoxicated enough at this distance!
“Um, well, we seem to have overbooked. You see, the, um, Weasleys here reserved four rooms. But we only have two…” she trails off at the end, looking admirably at the god.
“Well, why not give them the top floor suite? It’s free isn’t it, the suite?” he asks, smiling again. Oh holy. Don’t smile again!
Calm down, Rose.
Get out of my ass, Conscience. You're annoying.
Nice words, Rose.
“Well, yes, but that’s…that’s your suite sir,” Elaine the Pain answers. Calvin the God shrugs. Yes, I know, I do get creative with names. Thank you.
“Yeah, well, I can take one for the team. I’ll sacrifice my suite and stay in their initial room-” he turns to me, “with no monetary penalty to them, of course. And in addition, they can keep the extra room as well. Dad's out of town so I'm sure he won't mind too much,” he winks. I’m pretty sure I blushed.
“Well, OK, if that’s what you want,” Elaine the Pain turns back to her computer and pounds the keys. Clearly she’s upset we lot are here to stay. I don’t see what the problem is, though. I mean sure we’re a bit noisy, but is it really that bad?
Don’t answer that.
Elaine sticks her hand out and brandishes a little card.
“Your room is on the top floor. Our bellhop will bring up your luggage shortly and show you to your room-” I reach my hand out to take the card but before I can grab it, Calvin the God snatches it himself.
“I’m free,” he says. “I’ll show them,”
“Oh Mr. Morrissey, that’s really not necessary-”
“Oh, it’s my pleasure. Really,” he flashes his hundred watt smile. He nods his head towards the elevator, signaling us to follow him. We do…or at least, I do. Everyone else just follows me. We make our way to the elevator and wait for it to reach the lobby.
“Is this your first time in New York?” he asks, turning to face my lot. Everyone else answers him with words of excitement like “Cool” and “Amazing” and “Brilliant”. I just nod. It’s all I was capable of doing. Somewhere between getting from the desk to the elevator, I somehow lost my ability to say words. I’m so intoxicated, I have to remind myself to breath a few seconds. Shameful.
The elevator reaches us and we all bustle in, leaving no room for anyone to ride with us. Somehow, most likely because Great Granddad Oliver is watching over me from heaven, I end up standing next to Cal, making this the perfect chance for me to say something to him. Sadly, probably because Great Granddad Oliver never really liked me, I couldn’t think of anything to say. So I sigh and look out the glass part of the elevator which looks out onto the street. It’s then that I notice the elevators are in the two towers on the side of the building I’d seen when I was outside.
“Amazing,” I whisper to myself, fascinated at the view.
“You like it?” Calvin the God asks. I turn, a bit startled that he heard me. I hadn’t realized I’d spoken that loud.
Good one, Rose.
Shut up, Conscience.
“Yeah, it’s really pretty. And the architecture’s fabulous,” I say, still looking outside.
“If you like that, wait till you see the view from your suite,” he whispers. I turn to face him and he flashes his thousand watt smile. Blushing a shade of red darker than my hair, I stare up at the ceiling until the elevator stops, afraid that if I look at him I’ll jump him or something. The elevator slows to a stop before I know it and we all pile out. Making our way down the hall, I sneak a look at his backside. I can’t help it! It’s always good to check. And come on, you can’t possibly fall for a guy who’s got an ugly bum, right? Well, Calvin the God has a very nice bum. Just one more thing to check off the list of godly features: Brilliant hair, pretty eyes, gorgeous smile, nice bum. Check, check, check, and check!
We reach the end of the hall in front of a door that looks ordinary enough, just like all the others on the floor and yet, it still stands out. Calvin the God slips the card into a slot and the light on the handle turns green and chimes twice. Classy. Everyone rushes into the room all excited and what not. I, being the only one with manners in our family, give Calvin the God his deserved note of gratitude.
“Thank you Mr. Morrissey,” I say, blushing. Of course.
“Oh please, Mr. Morrissey’s my dad. Really. I prefer Cal,” he returns.
“Cal, then. Anyway, thank you for the room and the ride and everything,”
“No problem,” he says, flashing his million watt smile. “Enjoy your stay at the Watercress, um…”
“Rose,” I fill in. “Rose Weasley.”
“Enjoy your stay, Rose,” I smile and start to turn around, heading into the suite but then he stops me.
“Rose?” he calls. I turn fully to face him, raising my eyebrows. I read in a magazine once that it’s a very sexy thing to do, raising your eyebrows at a boy. It makes you look inquisitive. Right now though, I just feel stupid. Calvin reaches behind his neck letting his hand rest there.
“Do you want to go for a walk?” he asks, not exactly looking at me. In fact I think he’s…he’s…blushing?
This is your chance Rose. Say something witty, something clever, something that’ll make him fall for you!
“Right now?” I say. That’s witty and clever, right?
Remind me to slap you later.
Oh, don’t worry Conscience, I’ll do it myself.
“Yeah, I know it’s kind of…sudden and everything. But…I don’t know. I thought maybe you’d like to get a cup of hot chocolate or something…” he trails off.
“You know what? That sounds great, actually. Yeah. Let me just…” I turn to face the inside of the suite. “I’ll be back in a little bit you guys!” I yell. Of course, they don’t notice or acknowledge me in anyway. Some family. But no matter. I’m having hot chocolate with a god!
Standing this close to him, I notice a lot more things. For one, he's a lot taller than me, which I've always found appealing in a guy. For another, his shoulders are exceptionally broad, his chest also. I'm just saying, that's a lot of man for one girl. And from here I can see that his arms are really really strong.
The better to hold you with, my dear!
For once, Conscience, we're on the same page.
“So, where are you guys visiting from?” Cal asks, as we cross the street.
“England,” I answer, scurrying a bit to keep up with his long strides.
“Oh, sorry,” he says, slowing down, as if he heard my thoughts. What a gentleman. “England, huh? You’re a long way from home,”
“Yeah, but it’s about time I do some traveling. I’ve never left England before, let alone travel overseas,”
“Really?” he asks, surprised.
“Really,” I lie, now remembering that I attend Hogwarts. In Scotland. Which, in case you didn't know, isn't in England. Duh.
“Hmm, I guess it’s just me that goes everywhere,”
“Where’ve you been?” I ask as we cross another block.
“Um, well we went to Australia last summer. And Hong Kong the summer before that. We went to Paris last spring break and-”
“Wow,” I say. “You must travel a lot,”
“I guess so,” he shrugs as if it were nothing. Pfsh, yeah it's nothing. And I turn into Catwoman at night. “My dad flies like crazy for his job,”
“What does he do?”
“Oh, he owns hotels. Like the Watercress. He owns a few other things too,” he says, looking at me. Despite the fact that I’ve had a few thousand look at me before, I can’t help but feel a bit self-conscious.
“Like a limo service,” I say, remembering the stamps on the napkins in the limo. Cal nods. We turn a corner in silence. “Do you live at the hotel?” I ask.
“Not technically. We’ve got a flat not too far from here, but there’s always a room reserved for the Morrissey’s. So I tend to spend a lot of time here, only because it’s my favorite part of the city.”
“Really? What’s so special about it?”
“Well, you’ve got Radio City Hall about four blocks from here. And you’ll find the best restaurants within a two mile radius of the hotel. And the best mall in the city’s not too far either. But mostly there’s this little art gallery I like to go to just around the corner behind the hotel,” he explains. We cross another street.
“God, there’s so much to see! We plan on going sightseeing tomorrow, but I have no idea where to start.”
Cal laughs his homey laugh. God, being near him feels like Christmas.
“Understandable. I could take you if you want an escort. You’ll move around town a lot faster if you’re with a Morrissey,” he flashes his billion watt smile at me. I blush, not saying anything.
Cal stops in front of a little place and I look up to read the sign. The moniker reads ‘The Blaze’ in curly red letters. Cal pushes the door open and holds it for me. Smiling, I step inside a cozy café with dimmed lights. Contrary to its name, the place isn’t full of fiery reds and yellows. Instead, it’s a mesh of green and purple inside; a weird combination but it fits well for the place. The walls are striped two shades of green and the booths have deep purple cushions on them with purple mesh table cloths draped over a solid green table cloth. There are also six high chairs at the counter and that’s where Cal heads.
Cal pulls my seat out for me, sweeping his arm in a royal gesture, signaling me to sit. I try my best to hide my chuckle but I think he sees because he smirks a bit himself. He seats himself as I pull out a menu. These names sound so…foreign to me: Frapuccino, Macchiato, Mocha Espresso Twist. All rubbish if you ask me. Whatever happened to plain old coffee? The waitress comes over.
“Oh, sorry, but I’m not ready to or-”
“We’ll both have the hot chocolate, please. Extra whipped cream and marshmallows. Thanks,” he says, flashing his trillion watt smile. The waitress smiles back and collects our menus. I turn to him.
“I’m quite capable of ordering for myself, thank you,” I say. I try to be serious, but I’m not too good at that.
“I would imagine so,” he says. “You’re probably an extremely independent woman. I admire that,” he says seriously. Our eyes lock as I study his expression. Just when I’m about to turn away, convinced, I catch the hint of a smile in his eyes.
“Cocky pig,” I say, smacking his arm playfully. He isn’t able to mask it much longer and laughs the purest of laughs. I don't know where this new found confidence has come from. I mean, I would never whack a god in the arm. But whatever it is, I like it. “And for your information, I have had hot chocolate before,”
“Oh, there’s no doubt you have. But you’ve never had this hot chocolate before,” he notes, as the waitress sets two mugs in front of us. He murmurs a thank you and takes a sip.
“Perfect,” he says, eyeing me. “Go on, taste it,”
“I’m not all too sure I can trust you. What if you preplanned to poison me?” I joke.
“First of all Rose, I've never seen you before. So...preplanning murder would've been a bit difficult. Second, why would I ever poison such a pretty thing like you?” I can’t help but laugh. It is a silly thought, me being pretty. Hah. HAH HAH! Right.
I lift the mug to my lips but just as I do he adds, “And besides, if I were to poison you, it wouldn’t be with hot chocolate. I’d…press cyanide to your lips or something,” This makes me stop.
“And how would you do that?” I ask. He just smirks knowingly and looks ahead. Oh Merlin. Give me strength to resist this temptation. Suddenly, it's become much too hot for hot chocolate. What I really need is something to cool me down, like ice. Or a beer.
“Taste,” he says. I raise the mug all the way to my lips and take a slow cautious sip, because it's steaming. A burst of taste erupts in my mouth: sweet, sugary, warm…happy. It’s wonderful. It’s absolutely amazing.
“This is…this is great,” I admit. Sitting this close to him, his features are a lot more noticeable. His eyes are a lot more blue than gray. His jawline is remarkably perfect and his smile's a little crooked. But it makes him more beautiful, more...Calviny.
“Told you so,” he smiles again. “So, now that you can trust me, tell me something about you,”
“I’d rather here about you,” I press. “What are your parents like?”
“My parents,” Cal repeats, running a hand through his brown locks. I'm getting the vibe that's his signature move. “Well, my mom was a photographer,”
“Was?” I ask.
“Yeah, she…she passed away a year ago,” he answers, swirling a spoon in his drink absentmindedly. He didn’t look at me, though. I always do that. I always do that. Can’t I get through one conversation without making someone feel uncomfortable?
No, Rose. You can't.
Yeah, thanks, C.
“Oh Cal, I’m so sorry,”
“Yeah, me too,” he whispers, looking into his lap. “But it’s…it’s okay. She loved what she did. She used to travel to…wherever she could go with me and just take pictures for days. Of me. Of nature. Of strangers. Whatever she could point her camera at,” he met my eyes and gaxed at me intently as he spoke. I can see he’s a little pained talking about something so dear to him, but his eyes gleam with the happy memories in his head.
“She used to tell me ‘Whenever you see something, make sure you really see it. Not just with your eyes, but with your soul…and your heart. And when you find you can’t look away, then you know it’s something important, something worth remembering'. ” Our eyes were locked as neither of us said a word, just…seeing. I can feel the heat rising up my neck, so I force myself, against my will, to look away. Instead, I take another sip of the chocolate and let its warmth slide down my throat and to the rest of my body, heating up my chilled bones.
“And your father?” I ask, staring at my drink. I finally feel his gaze look away from me and from the corner of my eye, I see his lips turn up into the smallest of smiles. Probably laughing at my weak attempt to distract him. I had good reason to, of course. If I kept looking at him like that, I would’ve shagged him right there on the counter.
“My dad’s…not like my mom at all,” he explains, scratching the back of his neck and letting his hand rest there.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well, I mean, he’s sort of like her. He’s really into his work too. But my mom, she did it with fascination and passion. My dad kind of just….throws himself into it,”
“Does that bother you?” I take a sip of my cocoa, thinking of my own father and his lax mood toward his work.
“Not so much. I guess it’s just his way of coping. The thing is, though, he kind of throws it onto me too, you know?” I nod. “It’s kind of why I’m like…the poster boy for Future Business Leaders of America,” he says, chuckling to himself a little. I smile too, although I have no clue what that is. A band? Bands have posters, right? “But I guess I don’t mind. I do it for him,”
“That’s sweet,” I smile, bumping shoulders with him. “Deep down inside you’re a big softy like the rest of us.” Cal shrugs playfully.
“What can you do?” he says in that ‘I-just-can’t-help-myself’ voice. I sip my drink some more. “And what about your parents?” he asks.
“Sorry?” I say, caught off guard.
“Your family, you have one don’t you? That group of yours couldn’t have come from midair.” Oh, right. Yes, family. I forgot I had that.
“Right,” I remember. “Well, my mum’s absolutely brilliant. And my dad…well, he’s a bloke. But a loveable bloke. He’s extremely funny and he loves us kids, that is, Hugo and me. But-”
“I’m sorry,” he interrupts, raising a figure to pause me. “A…bloke?”
“Well, yes. You know, a…er, a man. Or a fellow,” I explain.
“Oh,” he nods understandingly. “That’s right, you’re from out of town. England, right?" He sits up a little straighter, swiveling his chair to face me more. "So do you say things like ‘By George!’ or ‘Hogwash!’ or…oh, what’s that other one I heard? Oh, yeah, um, ‘Alan Whickers!’ ” he exclaims, all in a horrible British accent.
I can’t help but laugh at the last one. “Alan Whickers?” I laugh.
“What, you haven’t heard that one? Hmph, and you say you’re from England? Can't help but doubt you Rose,” he says, shaking his head in mock disappointment.
“Oh sod off!” I say, slapping his arm again. I just love touching him.
“Oh, that’s a good one!” he laughs.
“Oh, as if you Americans haven’t got a funny language of your own. ‘Ay, yo dawg. Whaddup, my peeps?!’ ” I try in an even more horrible mock accent. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere close to what I’ve heard on the televisions back home.
“Oh, GOD, Rose, please! If I take you home now, promise me you’ll never do that again,” he pleads, hiding his face in his hands.
“Fo shizzle,” I manage to choke out, laughing in complete hysterics. Cal lays some bills on the counter and jumps off his seat.
“Let’s go. I can’t be seen with you in public,” he whispers, tugging me off of the chair playfully.
“What, we ain’t home dawgs?” I say between gasps for air.
“Oh, OK. If you wanna play it like that…” he says heading for the door. He reaches the entrance and turns to the few strangers strung about the small café.
“Jolly good show, ladies and blokes! I shall see you all very soon. Toodle-oo!” I push him out the door as he starts waving like the bloody queen of England. We stumble out on the street in hysterical fits of laughter and bow and queen wave down the sidewalks of New York City.